Three major challenges that small businesses will face this holiday season
What is the name of the season before the busy season? If you guessed the "obstacle course", come to me to claim your prize.
But seriously, obstacle courses bring new challenges every moment. You are forced to evaluate them, solve them, and move quickly to the finish line before the time is up.
This is the holiday preparation for retailers, and the finish line presents itself as Black Friday.
All the work done by small business retailers before Black Friday sounds stressful (and it is). But the core of these obstacle courses is also games, which are designed to be fun. So let's take a look at some of the main challenges that retailers encounter when preparing for the peak holiday season, and let us find the fun of solutions together.
SMB Challenge #1: E-commerce and in-store
Customers more than ever expect retailers to provide them with the convenience of online shopping and browsing anytime, anywhere.
Visit the store virtually and find the same product at the same price, and then receive the convenience of it at home without crowds and queues... this is something you can't really set a price (pun?).
But one thing is certain, e-commerce is absolutely necessary for retailers. In fact, it can determine whether consumers choose to spend their hard-earned money on you or someone on the street.
For some, the challenge is to get into online retail for the last time. For others, it is deciding what to sell online or in-store. Then, manage the inventory at all points of sale. Finally, how do you handle online and in-store returns at the end of the holiday.
Regardless of these issues, if you are not online in a certain way, shape or form, your business may decline. Grit your teeth, open an Etsy account or create a basic website. We have the perfect guide to help you decide where to start. (It even involves inventory management and returns!)
SMB Challenge #2: Marketing and brand differentiation
It should be easy to explain why your store is great. However, explaining how your store is different can be more challenging.
When developing a holiday marketing plan, challenge yourself to focus on what your customers want to hear, not what you want to tell them.
Do they care more about the unique quality of the products you sell? Or maybe the story behind the product you sell is more appealing to them. Before delving into the same ole marketing program this year, let’s get some ideas and see how effective other retailers are.
SMB Challenge #3: Put people first, sell products to people
Let's face it, if you are in the retail business, then you are in the personnel business. Your job is to balance the people and personalities who sell your products with the people and personalities who want to buy your products.
Staffing and seeking additional help during the holidays can be difficult, but it is essential to establish contact with customers. Similarly, investing in customer engagement and loyalty programs can make the difference between regular holidays and Woohoo holidays. Read about ways to invest in the people who make your business successful, and try some new ideas this season.
Each obstacle course is different, but many challenges remain the same. These are just some of the top problems to be solved, but there are more. Remember, you are not the only one working towards the finish line, you can always borrow best practices from others.