We’ve all grown used to the holiday shopping rhythm. First comes Spooky Season, topped off by Halloween. Come November 1st, it’s time to ramp up for the holiday season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring an influx of sales with their deep discounts, officially bringing spending into full swing. This year of course, we can expect the holiday season, like so many other things, to be different.
Due to social distancing measures, Halloween is expected to be much more subdued than in previous years. Combine a more muted Halloween with a mid-October Prime Day, and you have a recipe for an unusually early start to holiday shopping. Amazon has typically held its annual discount days during the summer, but due to supply chain issues, Prime Day was pushed back until October 13-14 this year. Because of its structural similarities to Black Friday and Amazon’s enormous reach, Prime Day has acted as the unofficial start to the holiday season this year. Bottom line? Holiday shopping has already begun. So what can your business do to make the most of the holidays this year?
The first step towards a successful season is to understand the 2020 holiday calendar so your business can adequately prepare and market to take full advantage of each event.
Small businesses don’t have the resources (and customers likely don’t have the attention) to hit it out of the park every single retail holiday. Black Friday, for example, isn’t a big hit for luxury retailers. Knowing what doesn’t work for your specific business is just as important as knowing what does. While the success of each day will vary from business to business, there are some general rules you can follow.
Retailers and restaurants can encourage people to shop and dine, respectively, on Small Business Saturday. With the increased focus on shopping small this year, it has the potential to be a big day for independent businesses across the US.
Online shopping is predicted to take on an even more important role with the latest pandemic-driven shopping trends. Customers will be looking for experiences that maintain social distancing standards. While there are ways to optimize your in-store experience with in-and-out floor plans and providing increased help, nothing minimizes person-to-person contact like online shopping. Salesforce anticipates that up to 30% of total U.S. retail sales will be digital this holiday season.
You may want to consider participating in Cyber Monday this year, even if you haven’t in previous years. Retailers can do so by emphasizing their online shopping/e-commerce options. Restaurants can embrace Cyber Monday by encouraging patrons to use online ordering on that day. Our own Clover Online Ordering’s easy setup makes online ordering a breeze to implement and we set up and process your orders without added fees, helping you maximize profits in an uncertain economy.
If you do embrace online business, you should also plan for more last-mile shipping delays. Plan for earlier shipping cutoffs and communicate those early and often with your customers.
As you can see, there are a lot of novelty holidays. To implement these holiday celebrations successfully, the key is to be selective, and not to use them all. If you’re a restaurant that celebrates National Deviled Egg Day, Sandwich Day, Candy Day, and Doughnut Day, your patrons’ eyes will quickly glaze over your email announcements and other marketing efforts. If you choose just one or two holidays, you’re much more likely to be successful. A doughnut shop, for example, would be best served by concentrating their efforts around Doughnut Day and letting the rest fall away.
If one of these novelty national holidays coincides with one of your products or services, there is a clear opportunity to highlight the product on the day. National Sock Day, for example, is a great day to offer promotions for customers who like to buy multiple pairs of socks. You can also use these holidays to generate excitement even if it’s not directly tied to your business. On National Gingerbread House Day, for example, you can encourage customers to share photos of their gingerbread houses on social media and tag your business. You can offer a special promotion or gifts with purchase centering around self-care on National Stress Awareness Day. In 2020, when everyone is craving all the comforts we’ve lost, customers will likely appreciate any efforts taken to support wellness and holiday cheer.
Small businesses are much more nimble than big-box retailers. You have the flexibility and agility necessary to create your own special deals or discount days without a year of planning. When you create a personalized promotion for your business, it makes it feel much more intimate and special for your customers because a smaller number of people know about it. You can use this “if you know, you know” vibe to generate sales and offer something of real value to your customers.
If you’re interested in creating a specialized deal or discount day for your business, here are some helpful tips:
Knowing your way around the holiday calendar can set your restaurant or retail business up for success. While this year will be different because of an earlier start date and many pandemic-related adjustments, like increased safety measures and limited crowds, your small business can ring in big sales by emphasizing Small Business Saturday, participating in Cyber Monday, and embracing a novelty holiday that’s in line with your offerings. You can even make your own deal/promotion day. This year, the holidays are all about entrepreneurial creativity.