7 Holiday Tips for Small-Business Owners
For small-business owners looking to boost their holiday sales ( all of them) , the trick, according to experts, is to focus less on competing with bigger companies and instead on figuring out ways to set their business apart. A good place to start is to call attention to unique products or a better customer experience.
"This year has really crystallized the need for small stores to have value-add services that bigger stores don't have," Wilson says.
Here are some experts' advice on how small businesses can boost holiday sales:
Connect with customers
Big retailers may be able to attract consumers en masse with advertising blasts, but small businesses have the unique ability to appeal to customers on a one-to-one basis.
"The small independent retailer can get to know customers over the years, build an ongoing relationship and call up customers and appeal to them on a personal basis. There's an ability to be competitive by doing that," says Daniel Butler, vice president of retail operations at the National Retail Federation. "Larger retailers struggle because they can't connect with customers in the same fashion."
To build that connection with customers, it's essential that small businesses offer top-notch customer service, which can differentiate them from other bigger companies.
"Good customer service can keep consumers loyal even through economic hardships. It can also be a competitive advantage during the bustling holiday season when larger retailers have an influx of shoppers," says Rosa Sabater, senior vice president of American Express OPEN, a community for business owners. "Use this time to personalize the shopping experience for each customer. Train or retrain your employees on how to be attentive and communicate with shoppers. Also, try to follow up with customers after their shopping experience to gauge satisfaction."
Offer bundled packages
While small stores may never be able to offer prices as low as Wal-Mart, there are other promotions they may be able to offer that some bigger retailers can't. According to Sabater, one trick is to bundle products and services. For example, if you are selling electronics, offer customers free repairs for a certain amount of time. This way, shoppers feel they are getting more for their money.