Simple steps to take to handle the holiday rush
There are 29 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2020. That’s three days more than you had last year, which saw the fewest number of shopping days possible since 2013. Consumers will still start shopping early, so you need to get your business ready ahead of time to take advantage of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and all the other holiday sales.
We have put together a list of things you should do to get your business ready for the holiday sales season. We’ve also included some free easy-to-use sales templates you can customize for any promotion or sale. From Super Saturday to Black Friday and every sales day in between, our business templates can keep you a step ahead of the competition. Check out our newest featured templates below.
For some businesses, the holiday season can account for as much as 30% of annual sales according to the National Retail Federation. And the holiday sales rush starts earlier and earlier each year. So, it’s essential to get ahead of the frenzy.
Black November kicks things off on November 1. Follow that with at least six more cleverly named sales day before it all comes mercifully to an end. However, take heed and get your business ready early, and you can bring home your share of the holiday shopping profits.
The holiday sales to remember
- Black November (November 1): Starts on the first day of November and continues until the end of the month. So yes, the entire month is now one giant sale. But with 40 percent of shoppers starting their holiday gift buying in October, it makes sense.
- Black Friday (November 27): The term was coined by a police officer in the early ’60s due to holiday shopping traffic jams. It was turned into a positive in the ’80s by businesses looking to get back in the black. The biggest holiday sales day of the season, it’s slowly turning into Black Monday and Tuesday with many companies launching sales well before Friday.
- Small Business Saturday (November 28): It was started in 2010 by American Express as a way to battle big-box retailers’ holiday sales and celebrate the small business owner. It’s now grown to include Saturdays year-round.
- Cyber Monday (November 30): The sale term debuted in 2005 and became a huge driver of online holiday sales for e-commerce stores. Businesses like big-box retailers, airlines and brick-and-mortar stores have now joined the fray. The sale day hit a record $9.2 billion in total digital spending in 2019, according to data from Adobe Analytics.
- Free Shipping Day (December 14): This floating sale day was launched in 2008 to boost the online shopping slump in mid-December when customers are worried about getting gifts in time. Retailers large and small offer free shipping on this day with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve.
- Super Saturday (December 19): Some call it Panic Saturday because the sales are targeted at last-minute holiday shoppers. It’s great for pushing inventory on the last full Saturday shopping day before Christmas.
- Boxing Day (December 26): A secular holiday in the U.K. and elsewhere, it’s a huge gift return and shopping day in the U.S. Many retailers drastically cut prices to reduce their inventory before the new year.
Plan your strategy
Get together with your partners, employees and other stakeholders to prepare for the holiday sales season. What worked and what didn’t in previous years?
Did your holiday sales go really well on Black Friday but not on Super Saturday? Maybe you ran a better offer or promotion on Black Friday. Or maybe it’s the sale day that your target customers respond to and you should just focus on that this year. Either way, do your research.
Focus on the industry you’re in and your business model to help plan your strategy. This is especially important if you’re a new business owner with little data to back up any sales success or failures. If you’re strictly an e-commerce seller, then Cyber Monday should be your target to start. Own a small store or boutique in your town? Then Small Business Saturday is a perfect day to promote your community ties.
Whether you plan to focus on just one big sale day or spread your advertising budget across several sales, an editorial calendar is a must. If you use social media, emails, bloggers or other online marketing efforts have a calendar mapped out with imagery and messaging that will keep everyone involved from scrambling the day it’s due.
Check out these 5 Holiday Marketing Tips to Boost Sales to also help keep business booming during the Christmas shopping season.
Get holiday sales help
If you were strapped and at your wit’s end during last year’s holiday sales season, then get some extra help this year. Make sure to set funds aside in your annual budget planning for extra staffing during the holiday rush.
Another option is to pull someone from one area of your business to help in another area over the holiday rush. It’s not only a great way to learn about the business and help serve your customers better, but it also helps builds stronger relationships among internal teams.
Tap into the local college or high school market for budget-friendly help over Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays. If you live near a college or university many students can’t afford to go home for the holidays, so they’re anxiously looking for employment to keep busy, or even an internship. Students can be valuable employees for several years as they finish their education, and possibly beyond.
Stock up & clean up
If you know the holidays are your sweet spot, then build up your inventory ahead of time. Again, you should have put aside extra funding for the holidays so you can easily increase stock if needed.
Having plenty of inventory on hand is especially important if you run a small operation making artisan or handmade products for instance. You don’t want to have to try to quickly create products while also trying to keep your business organized and running smoothly.
Take a look at sales numbers from previous years to get a better idea of what products sold, how much you’ll need and approximately how many. But also keep an eye on trends. Your llama t-shirts might not be as big of a seller as they were last Christmas.
To prepare for the holiday rush you should also do a clean sweep of your business in the early fall. Clean out storerooms, office space and the showroom floor if you have retail space. You want both customers and employees to be able to find exactly what they’re looking for, or what you want them to see.
Keep it organized
Once the orders and sales start rolling in, it’s imperative that you stay organized. Make sure you have a reliable system in place to keep orders straight so products end up in the right hands.
Whether you’re shipping products around the world or handing bags and boxes to customers face to face, you need to have a process for everything. And make sure your employees know the system and are well trained.
Also, if you have an e-commerce store or even a site that gets lots of visitors, do a thorough check of your backend systems. In a survey of 200 small businesses across North America and Europe, CA Technologies found that small businesses lose an average of $55,000 a year due to IT failures. So make sure you run tests and have any bugs worked out before the sales season. The last thing you want is your website crashing during the holiday rush.
If you hit a lull as you get closer to the holidays, then have a plan ready to fill the void. Start work on your next campaign, organize your warehouse or maybe have some team-building activities to get juices flowing for the next year.
Create printed marketing collateral
From printed promotional materials to online marketing collateral to seasonal product labels and packaging, get everything done ahead of time that you can.
Announce your sales with custom postcards sent by direct mail and as handouts in-store or at farmers’ markets and fairs. Add sales announcements in shipped orders placed ahead of the sale. Put sales postcards in carryout bags and boxes from in-store purchases.
On the day of the sale, add custom hang tags to products to call out sales items or seasonal pricing. Create bold price-cut stickers and festive holiday-themed labels and stickers to add directly to on-sale items.
Planning on using a graphic designer? Remember that they will likely be swamped this time of year as well. Book them early and get them started on your designs so you don’t have to pay any last-minute printing or delivery charges.
If you want to save some time and money, try our free Avery design software. Simply customize one our sales templates from our small business design gallery or upload your own personal artwork. Then you can simply have your custom labels, stickers, cards and tags professionally printed by Avery WePrint.
Want to print your items yourself? With Avery blank labels you can order more than 3,100 size, shape and material combinations online, by the sheet. Or use our packaged labels and cards that are sold in stores and online.
The best part is you can apply the same design to a variety of different products. This will help you carry a cohesive sale theme across all your touchpoints. And, if you want to use the Black Friday template for your Small Business Saturday sale, simply change the text in the template once you’ve selected your product. It’s that easy.
Free sales templates
Create your holiday sales and promotional items now with our newly designed sales templates. Check out all of our templates for small businesses to use throughout the year.
Can we help you pick the right product for your sales or promotion? If you need some a little inspiration for your holiday marketing, check out our 5 Holiday Marketing Tips to Boost Sales.
Contact our awesome Customer Care Center at (800) 942-8379. They’ll be happy to help you with any product labeling, application or software-related questions you might have.