The holiday shopping season is stressful for businesses even during normal times, and this year we’re adding all the complications surrounding a global pandemic. Managing capacity limitations, enforcing mask policies, keeping employees safe, gracefully handling customer fears, and frustrations are just a few of the added challenges we’ll be dealing with this year. With every new challenge come new opportunities, though, and the challenges posed by the pandemic are no different. Here are four ways to utilize affordable technology to leverage the holiday season this year to create more meaningful connections with your customers and drive long-term revenue growth.
1. Build Your Customer Email List
The most important thing you can do to leverage the holidays is to collect email addresses from every customer visiting your business. This can be done in several ways. We recommend offering a limited-time deal on a seasonal product as an incentive for customers to enroll in your digital marketing or loyalty rewards program. New point-of-sale and payment terminal technology make it easy to do this during the checkout process and keep lines moving swiftly.
Alternatively, you can take a low-tech approach, collect business cards, have a sign-up sheet for people to enroll in a holiday giveaway, and manually type all those new email addresses into your email marketing database.
Once you have all those customer email addresses in your marketing database, you then have the ability to contact customers year-round to announce new products, new ways to shop with you, changes to your business hours, or to simply say hi and thank them for their business.
2. Create New Revenue Streams
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that it is almost impossible to thrive solely on traditional in-store sales. Luckily, the technology that was previously only affordable for huge chain retailers is now readily available to retailers of all sizes. In particular, retailers should consider these three revenue streams:
- E-Commerce – By creating an online store on your website, you can simultaneously reach a more extensive customer base and provide a contactless shopping experience.
- Subscription Packages – Get creative and come up with a weekly or monthly subscription package for VIP customers to create reliable, recurring revenue you can collect via a virtual terminal with invoicing capabilities.
- Gift Cards – Already a holiday favorite, gift cards should see a huge boost this year as more customers look to support local businesses now with the intent of doing their actual shopping once the pandemic is over. Be flexible and offer to mail gift cards to customers who are not able to visit in-person.
3. Email Your Existing Customers
Your customers have a lot on their minds this year, so make their shopping choices easy for them. Send a series of friendly emails leading up to and during the holidays to let them know how you can help them out. Make sure to include the following details:
- Your in-store holiday business hours and any COVID-related requirements and accommodations
- What seasonal products and gifts you have to offer
- Any limited-time deals or new loyalty rewards you’re offering
- Your subscription packages and how to enroll
- How to shop with you online, if available
- How to order gift cards
- How much you appreciate their business and holiday greetings
4. Use #Holiday Hashtags on Social Media
While email marketing limits your reach to your existing customer base, social media can exponentially boost your reach. Start by using powerful marketing software to create eye-catching campaigns, and then use targeted hashtags to capture the eye of new customers and grow your number of followers. Here are a few holiday-specific hashtags that you might want to consider:
Combined, these four strategies can both help you hit your sales targets for the holidays and lay the groundwork for you to attract new customers, improve customer retention, and achieve long-term revenue growth.