Think it's too early to prepare for the holiday sales season?
With the exception of a few die-hard holiday fans, most consumers spend their summer months doing anything but their holiday shopping. But for those of us in the sales world, we've been thinking about the coming holiday sales season since the last holiday sales season.
How can we improve from last year? When should we start sending out those promotions? Should we plan something for Black Friday? Or Cyber Monday? Here's a look at the steps you can take to prepare for the holiday sales season…and, better yet, to prepare your clients for the holiday sales season.
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How to Prepare for the Holiday Sales Season
First, review your numbers from last year.
When did you start your holiday promotions? What was your engagement like? Has your engagement increased or decreased since then? If it's decreased, have you implemented a plan to get it back up before the promotions start?
Engagement is king on social media, especially for sales. If you want your community to shop with you for the holiday sales season, then you have to start reminding them of who you are and what you do before that season is upon us.
Second, start warming your market back up. Don't wait until Black Friday to dump a special on your community and expect many of them to be jumping out of their seats to shop with you.
Chances are unless you've been actively engaging with your community for the weeks leading up to Black Friday, most of them won't even notice an announcement if you do make one. And many of the ones who notice still may not even engage with your announcement if that's the only thing they've seen from you since summertime.
Third, have your rules and policies in place before the holiday sales season even starts.
If you don't already have a return or refund policy, or if your return policy is limited, consider what policies you may want to implement. Of course, we want every customer to be 100% satisfied with each and every purchase, but when you're buying for the holidays it's much harder to control that.
What if the gift recipient doesn't like it? Most gifts purchased on Black Friday fall well outside of the typical 30-day refund policies offered by many retailers. What will your policy be? Better to have that finalized now, before you need it, than to get hit with it later when someone wasn't happy. This will also help you set up and manage customer expectations through the holiday sales season.
Finally, start figuring out your deadlines.
You can use the information from your review you did earlier to help you estimate (roughly) how much inventory you need, or how many pieces you'll need to make (for example). You'll want to be able to outline when to stop taking orders (for items you make) and how much time you'll need for shipping (as applicable). Even if you work for a company that handles the shipping for you, you're going to want to know what the cutoff is for delivery, and you'll want to know what policies are in place should anything delay the shipping.
Knowing how to prepare for the holiday sales season, and knowing when to start, may make all the difference for having a successful marketing campaign.