Every business owner has experienced the craziness of the holiday shopping season. Get ahead this year by planning and prepping early. The goal is simple: boost sales and bring in more customers. You can achieve this if you set your mind to it! Plan accordingly, and you will have a bustling season of sales! We’ve compiled a list of 12 different ways to prepare for the holiday shopping season.

Plan and set goals

As every business owner knows, planning is an ongoing process. But they also know to prepare a little bit more thoroughly for the busiest shopping time of year. Business owners should sit down and make a detailed review of prior years’ sales strategy and performance. This information gathered from your detailed review will help decide on inventory, curate deals and promotional offers for the business, and set revenue goals for the holiday season. Other tools like social engagement and website traffic analytics can measure your success around the holiday season. Or, you can compare and contrast your competitor’s strategies to see how they reach their customers.

Secure sufficient working capital

Because it’s the busiest shopping time of the year, it’s possible that as a business owner, you may have to increase inventory, hire seasonal staff, or set up new displays. For this to happen, you might need some extra funds readily available. If you don’t have the funds, you can quickly secure a line of credit or a short-term loan. Business owners should also reach out to their payment processor to inquire about an increase in transaction volume and the possible necessity for a higher line of credit.

Upgrade and review your business’ technology

The last thing you want as a business owner is to lose customers for something easily avoidable. Avoid your website crashing or being unable to process credit cards by taking time to review and possibly upgrade the technology for your business. This could include handling large volumes of shoppers, security software, payment processes, and user-friendly websites.

Stock up on inventory

Keep an eye on trends, your most popular sellers, and unique gifts that will stand out throughout the year to prepare for the holiday season. It would be a shame to turn away a customer because you ran out of the season’s most popular gift. You want to ensure that your physical and online stores are fully stocked.

Put a focus on online sales

Your online presence must be part of your focus to maintain regular sales numbers and continue bringing in customers. Make sure to have a readily available inventory, standard payment systems like “buy now, pay later,” and easy payment processing. Try to make your site as user-friendly as possible to ensure the shopping cart isn’t abandoned and the sale is completed.

Improve your SEO efforts

SEO is Search Engine Optimization, meaning that if your SEO is good, you will be at the top of the search results on search engines like Google. Identify keywords that will help new customers find your site and use them! Publish and update your content regularly so that customers have a reason to come back. Get your Google My Business running with proper store hours, essential updates, and other relevant information.

Use social media to your advantage

Like SEO, you should publish content regularly so customers can keep in touch, see what’s new, and receive essential information about sales or new items. Respond to comments and reviews, use your email list, and create engaging content for your customers.

Market your business to your loyal customers

Your loyal customers will always be there, ready to support your business and return for new items. Use this to your advantage! Engage your customers with exclusive online offers, personalized discounts and promotions, and in-store events! Just because they’re already a loyal customer doesn’t mean you should ever stop trying to win them over.

Provide outstanding customer service

One of the most important things in running a business is ensuring outstanding customer service. You want your customers to feel like they’re understood and heard. You want their concerns to be put to rest. You want feedback on what can be improved and what’s going well. Someone should be able to easily help a customer at a moment’s notice. Get your team ready for an outstanding customer service-oriented holiday season by having weekly meetings.

Decide what makes you unique

A small business can easily attract customers by highlighting its unique products and connection to the community. Because of the outstanding customer service, you can offer experiences for your customers that they can’t get anywhere else. What makes your business special? Do you do workshops or lessons on your product? What about curating a gift box for your customers? You can easily do many things to make your business stand out, like hosting events, hosting charity drives, or sponsoring a local team.

Offer competitive options

If you offer free shipping or quick delivery, you’re guaranteed to stand out from your competitors. You could provide curbside pickup or local delivery to your community. Another easy option is offering in-store pickup for online orders. These small things stand out to a customer and differentiate you from other businesses.

Plan ways to keep your employees happy

It’s easy to boost morale at your business around a time that’s often stressful by doing various things. Perhaps throwing an office party that the staff can put their input into, honoring the staff members’ different traditions and heritages, or supporting a charitable project. Establish traditions with your team members to help improve morale!

Remember your goal: boost sales and bring in more customers. With the implementation of these 12 tips, your business will flourish this holiday season. Keep your eyes on ways to improve for next year as well! It’s never too early to start planning.