How small businesses can prepare for Christmas shopping

Opinions expressed by entrepreneur Contributors are their own.

The time of the year with the highest sales – the Christmas business – is just around the corner. For the little ones, all eyes are on Small Business Saturday, the nationwide movement encouraging consumers to shop from small businesses rather than big retailers. The day is critical to small business success, as 78% of small business owners say the 2021 holiday sales would impact their ability to keep their doors open this year.

Many of these small CPG businesses are scaling from the ground up — often selling and sharing products through grassroots avenues like farmers markets, Etsy, festivals, and fairs. Eventually, it becomes clear that a standalone online presence is necessary to scale and grow your customer base.

In the current consumer climate, it is more important than ever for you to go digital in order to be competitive. Deloitte’s holiday forecasts predict Christmas sales from November 2022 through January 2023 to total $1.45 trillion to $1.47 trillion, with $5.14 billion for Small Business Saturday alone be issued. How can your small business stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace? Instantly expanding your customer base with an online presence is a good place to start.

Here’s everything you need to know to digitally connect with consumers during the busiest time of year while generating new business, creating efficiencies and increasing brand loyalty.

See also: 5 ways small business owners can use the rapid digital transformation to get closer to their customers

Building an app (mobile or web) is easier than it seems

The idea of ​​growing your small business from a side job at the farmers market to a robust online offering can be daunting. Not only does that mean you’re more publicly visible than ever, but there are new things to manage that include inventory, order management, billing, sales and more – not to mention the work required to get online and decide which presence you have (web, mobile, or desktop app) makes the most sense for your business.

The good news is that there are hundreds of valuable resources at your disposal to make building an app or website not only available, but faster and even easier than you might have thought. In the past, building any web platform like an app required the expertise of an experienced developer.

However, today’s technology means you can create a custom app tailored to your business needs without requiring a highly technical background. What was once a highly technical task can now be done by anyone – opening doors to new customers, improving customer experiences, and more.

Also see: The ultimate marketing guide: How to improve your company’s digital presence

For small businesses, efficiency is key

You work with fewer resources than the big guys, so staying organized is imperative for you to stay competitive. An online and omnichannel digital presence gives you the power to effectively manage your entire operation – including everything from accounting to human resources and hosting all your retail systems in one place.

By creating your own app, you can use the digital systems you already use, such as B. Integrate accounting software or payroll tools with an online platform or application to streamline operations. Track the exact location of items and monitor inventory levels from a single application interface instead of manually updating multiple spreadsheets and paper documents. You can manage orders from multiple channels like social media or physical stores in one central place, which includes adding features for built-in shipping tools and refund management. By connecting your app directly to your payroll, you can monitor your staffing needs and plan accordingly.

On the more technical side, custom apps offer small businesses a new level of access to big data and analytics in one place. All of this new information puts you right inside the minds of your customers, allowing you to better understand their buying habits. A digitized presence also offers suggestions for upselling opportunities and predictions of what customers might want to see later in your store.

Related: The 2022 holiday season will change consumer behavior. Here are 3 ways you can prepare

Get to know your customers on a personal level

It’s no secret that consumers tend to be more loyal to brands they “get”. This loyalty can lead them to spend more while encouraging their friends and family to do the same. By having an app specifically for your business, you can make your business strategy more data-driven and strategic. An app offers you a direct line to your customers and their shopping preferences and opens the door to new possibilities for personalization and individual recommendations.

With an app you can analyze customer behavior, e.g. B. what items they buy, where and much more. This helps you make more informed decisions about targeted promotions to increase your customer retention and loyalty.

From birthday coupons to loyalty programs and special rewards for long-time customers, you can incentivize and encourage repeat purchases through push notifications, flash sales, app-based coupons, loyalty programs, product recommendations, and more. It’s about getting your customer to keep buying your product.

The optimal time of year to scale a small business is now, and it’s more important than ever to be set for success. An online presence with apps and digital storefronts gives you new opportunities to streamline your operations and get to know your customers on a whole new level. Meeting the needs of digital customers ensures new doors are constantly opened for your small business, and centralizing all business operations into one system simplifies your day-to-day processes – a win for everyone this Small Business Saturday and beyond.

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