The holiday shopping season is a crucial time for most retail businesses. It can test even seasoned businesses during the most routine years. And this year is shaping up to be anything but routine.
"There are a lot of factors at play. Between persistent labor shortages and supply chain difficulties, small businesses are facing unique challenges this holiday season," said Andrew Iven, manager of product strategy for BOK Financial®.
Service, flexibility and personality are how small businesses are going to differentiate themselves from competitors during this uniquely challenging holiday season. Here are five ways small retailers can stand out during this holiday season:
1. Remove any confusion.
Make it clear you're open and would love to see your customers. A Main Street America survey found that nearly 80% of business owners had closed for at least some period during 2020. Make sure customers know you're back open and what, if any, services have changed since the last holiday shopping season. You can post these details on your website and social media channels.
2. Consider digital options.
More and more retailers are offering digital ways to pay, which customers have grown to expect. Small businesses can consider implementing something like Google Pay or Apple Pay, which could create a simple, fast shopping experience both in-store and online.
3. Revive the joy.
Distinguish yourself from online shopping or nondescript malls by offering a personalized and enjoyable experience. Online shopping is practical, but often emotionless.
4. Start now.
Rather than counting on traditional sales events, get a head start. Pivot marketing messaging to encourage shoppers to visit sooner rather than later.
5. Maximize marketing efforts.
Spread the word about your business early and often. Send out emails to existing customers and post regularly on social media. Local chambers of commerce might be able to help on the marketing front, too, as they often have events and online resources that feature local businesses.
"Small businesses are vital to our communities," said Iven. "Consider keeping them top of mind during your holiday shopping—and all year."