Retail Holiday Sales Strategies

Bah Humbug

Bah HumbugRetail Holiday Sales Strategies:

Although it might be sticky and hot outside right now, the holidays will soon be upon us. You know…the “hap-happiest season of all”? Unless you’re a small business owner, then the “most stressful season of all” might be more accurate.

Whether your business is a combined in-store and online customer experience, or your business is entirely devoted to a virtual storefront, this blog offers advice to better prepare you and your small business for the “most wonderful time of the year”.


To Strategize or Not to Strategize? (Retail Strategies):

During yet another COVID-19 pandemic that is slated to last through the New Year, shoppers are likely to spend their money through virtual platforms as opposed to hassling with masks and social distancing regulations. This assumption of increased online shopping should be in the back of your mind when designing that magical holiday marketing strategy.


What are some good retail strategy tips?

  • Stick to the basics: Crafting that perfect holiday marketing strategy can seem like a monumental task, even more so in the world of online shopping. Sticking to the basics of marketing can be a great place to start and eventually lead to that magical holiday charm.
  • Review Earlier Holiday Campaigns: Auditing and understanding prior holiday campaigns can help you circumvent the same pitfalls from previous years and ultimately prevent a less than ideal history from repeating itself. Review the specific tactics previously employed and understand which tactics worked and those that can be improved or thrown out. It is also worthwhile to study your customer data over the past year. Have the customer’s values changed? Did your overall customer base fluctuate or significantly change? Understanding your customer and what they value most can help with holiday messaging.
  • Know Your Audience: Marketing directly to your audience is why analyzing customer data from the previous year is important. By repeating a previous holiday campaign, or even replicating a competitor’s holiday strategy, your message will likely become lost in all the noise. Instead, thoroughly examine your customer base for any nuances that can be advantageous in developing holiday messaging. If your customer is part of the millennial generation, you might consider increasing your social media presence. Did your customer buy in-store more often than online? In the wake of this second pandemic, you might offer a benefit to buy online, with pick up in-store or curbside delivery options.


Just A Small Town-er, Shopping in an Online World (Online Sales):

Planning and preparing for the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is essential during a year where customers are likely to shop online for their holiday gifts. Here are some things to do before sales start:

Prep for Increased Online Traffic:

Merchandising Strategies

First and foremost, an ample inventory should be stocked beforehand to prevent customer frustrations over sold out items and lack of choices. Check prior years to make sure your popular items are readily available.

Increased number of shoppers means increased inventory needs. To avoid long wait times and frustrated customers finding out their must-have gift if out of stock or on back-order, check with suppliers now to make sure you’re appropriately stocked, especially for likely gift items.

Showcase your holiday products. Start by determining which products you’re going to sell this holiday season. Are there specific holiday bundles your target audience has been wanting? What about seasonal favorites?

Next, consider how you’ll display these seasonal items on your site. For example, you could have a holiday-specific category in your site navigation. Make shopping easy by organizing gifts in one place.

Site Speed (Speed = Revenue)

Jon Provisor, CIO of Guidance recommends as the key thing to prepare for the holidays: “Work on speed and security.  There is a direct relationship between page load speed and revenue.”

Your website needs to have the scalability and stability to handle increased demands on your web infrastructure.

Optimize Checkout

  • Simplify checkout to 1 page
  • Enable guest checkout
  • Offer several payment options
  • Let shoppers select preferred shipping option

To test how your site is performing, you can check your site’s speed here: Google Speed Test

Online selling tips

  • Keep in mind that your online store doesn’t have to have every item in your storefront.
  • Select items which you have a good quantity of to ship.
    • Pre-wrap them to fulfill orders quicker.
  • Items with the best profit margins should be highlighted.
  • Make sure to mix in some trendy items and market them as “Get it before it’s gone” to create a sense of urgency.
  • Anticipate shipping problems and urge your customers to order early to avoid delays.


I’ll Have What She’s Having…And Other Memorable Tips (Offer Perks):

  • Create memorable packing and unboxing experience
  • Offer buy online, in-store pick up option
  • Discounts for first time buyers
  • BOGO free option


For additional resources on retail holiday sales strategies, or other tips for growing your small business, please contact us at the  ParisSmall Business Development Center – SBDC – serving Paris area:  Lamar, Hunt, Hopkins, Delta, and Red River counties.