The holiday sales season is a golden opportunity for businesses, especially for retailers as consumers customarily shop for gift ideas and online sales. But, to business owners, the December rush does not always convert to increased sales or positive cash flow due to lack of preparation and/or foresight.
Here are three tips to boost your sales this holiday season so that they improve your business’s cash flow:
- Improve customer service.
- Increase sales value.
- Plan for the worst in advance.
Improve customer service.
Customer service, not discounts, is the key to boost sales during the holiday season. This sale season pressures businesses into joining the bandwagon of offering discounts. Popular e-commerce sites like Kogan.com and Woolworths offer discounts and promos all year long. For small businesses, offering discounts hardly increases profitability, which is why it is best to target volume and market share.
The year 2021, as in 2020, is particularly difficult for everyone, more so for small businesses, as most sales were conducted online. It could be difficult to focus on online customer service if your business was operating a traditional brick-and-mortar structure before the pandemic; customer service should remain your top priority whether you are operating a brick-and-mortar shop or an online shop.
Excellent customer service should also be consistent all year. If you have only recently migrated to online operations, explore different types of marketing, like email marketing or social media. The holiday season may also be a great time to improve your online store’s landing pages by making them more user-friendly for customers who are using both desktops and mobile phones.
Although customer service is valuable year round, this holiday season it will be more so as customers will juggle with many other things to do. Your excellent customer service will help them make good decisions at the fastest time possible. Improving your customer service will result in repeat and loyal customers.
Increase sales value.
Excellent customer service should translate to sales. But this holiday shopping season, make it a goal to UPSELL so that you not only increase your volume of sales but also the value of your sales. Make your customers buy a more expensive, upgraded or premium version of their chosen item. Or make them buy add-ons to make a larger sale.
Improve your holiday season marketing strategy by offering a customised shopping experience. Know your buyer’s persona — who are they, what age are they, what are their needs? Use this data to improve your marketing campaigns and offer products or services that target what your customers truly need. Also think of products or services that your customers may need in the future.
It might be a good idea to offer products or services that are of no cost to you but add value to your customers’ shopping experience. Examples are loyalty discount cards, gift cards, product recommendations, and VIP experiences. Look at what your competition is doing and craft deals that are unique to you so your customers can connect better with your brand. Always make your customers feel good in every stage of their buyer’s journey.
Plan for the worst in advance.
The holiday season is an exciting time for businesses and could be the worst. December has shorter trading days, which means a lesser number of days for you to make sales. Your administrative and operating costs, however, may remain the same.
Checks also do not come in until the end of January or early February, causing cash flow crunch. You cannot prepare for some things, like bushfires and pandemics. But you can prepare for most parts of your operations before the onslaught of the holiday season. To keep a consistent positive cash flow, be on top of your invoicing despite the hectic holiday schedule. Delayed invoicing results in delayed payment. Make a realistic forecast of your sales, expenditures, and cash flow. Further, delay unnecessary spending until after payment from the holiday sales come in.
You have a thousand ways to cash in on the holidays. It is a rich opportunity for businesses to boost sales. But you also have a thousand ways to pass upon your chance to increase cash flow.
Remember the three tips to boost holiday sales:
- improve your customer service,
- increase your sales value, and
- plan for the worst in advance.
Apply them this holiday season, or better, all year, to boost sales and convert those sales into positive cash flow. Otherwise, when poorly managed, cash flow can cause business failures.
Liam White joined the Slater Byrne Recoveries team in early 2013. He has worked across the credit & dispute resolution industry for a number of years. He is currently working in a Marketing/Head of Sales capacity at Slater Byrne Recoveries.