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The gift-giving holidays are upon us, and now is the time to get your customers and clients thinking about decking their halls with the sounds of music.

Are you ready? Here are some suggestions to get the jingle bells ringing on your cash register:

What’s Your Plan?

What do you want to accomplish this holiday season? Be realistic—most people are pinching their pennies this year. If you want to double sales, can you also double your marketing, staffing, and extended hours and inventory investments? Your best bet may be to decide on your manageable holiday spend and scale everything to fit in that budget. Inventory for the holiday season is tricky. You don’t want to sit on stock, but you also want to have enough on hand to meet your planned increase in demand. Planning your holiday inventory depends largely on the reliability of the last mile in your supply chain. If your vendors can deliver through the season, track inventory closely and re-order just in time. If you end up overstocking, make plans for moving it with sales keyed to New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and other holidays.

When Is the Best Time to Start Promoting for the Holidays?

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and limited-time promotions typically are make-or-break sales days. And there’s nothing wrong with jumping on the bandwagon. Start marketing and advertising to support those events now! (Walmart had Christmas decorations next to its Halloween stuff.) If you have an email list, let your clients know when the sale will occur. Build anticipation and get your current customer base excited. Invest in paid social media advertising such as Facebook ads to target your key customer demographics in your market area as well as expand your reach if you have an e-commerce presence. 

What’s Your Holiday Social Media Plan?

The holidays are a great time to amp up your social presence. Think big! Go beyond pushing your sales and promotions. Instead, post helpful, engaging articles that will appeal to your customers and prospects, then tag on the holiday specials related to the content at the bottom. That way, you’ve provided useful information, engaged the reader, and provided an incentive to make a purchase. 

Are Your Going to Need Holiday Help?

Beef up your customer service. During the holidays, your goal is to drive more business, so be ready for it! It’s never good to deliver poor customer service—even more so during the holidays when people’s hearts and reputations are on the line. Customers aren’t shy about complaining on social media, and that can kill a lot of holiday buzz. Of course, they are equally happy to post good reviews, so don’t you be shy about asking your best buyers to mention their holiday shopping experience. You may have to invest in seasonal help. In the long run, though, satisfied customers go a long way to increasing business year-round as well as during the holidays. 

Is Everything Working?

Check all links on your website and fix everything that’s broken, including product images, descriptions, and prices. There’s nothing more frustrating when trying to make an online purchase than running into technical errors or outdated content. That’s a surefire way to lose a sale; there a few things so unique that a potential customer can’t find it somewhere else online. The same goes for brick-and-mortar locations. Are the displays clean and organized? Did you lubricate the front door? Do you offer touchless pay options at the point of sale? Shopping at your retail location should be a pleasurable experience, which can help facilitate increased sales. 

With thoughtful preparation and planning, you’ll be in an ideal position to increase holiday sales and pick up new customers along the way to make all year a gift!