How Small Businesses Can Prepare for the Holiday Shopping Season
When the holiday shopping season rolls around it presents a massive opportunity for small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to generate buzz, build an audience, and, most importantly, make more sales.
To help you make the most of this critical time of year, we’ve compiled some tips and resources that you can use to grow your business this year by using all the tools and possibilities at your disposal.
New Holiday Shopping Season Technologies to Help You and Your Customers
Business technology is always changing and updating. Here are some examples of newer innovations in tech that can help your small business get a leg up on the competition during the holiday shopping season by improving many different parts of your business operations.
Using Automation to Improve Experiences for Customers
Automation can be used by SMBs to help streamline and simplify complex processes that are bogging your teams down or soaking up too much of your own time. For example, manual processes like data entry, contact management, and social media posting can be automated to save time. Additionally, automation can drastically improve your customer’s experience by making key actions like returns, customer service, and other forms of support simpler, faster, and more self-service.
Automation can also make it easier to collect, manage, and use customer data to help provide stronger marketing experiences, tailor email campaigns, and adjust your products and offerings to fit specific people.
Build an App to Make it Easier for Customers to Shop
In modern business, small businesses need to make it as easy as possible for consumers to find and buy their products in order to compete. A big part of that is establishing a presence on the one thing every person seems to always have on them: their phones.
Mobile users will spend about $156.5 billion on mobile apps in 2022 and 87% of consumers begin their shopping journey digitally. Building a mobile retail app opens a new avenue of awareness and creates an easier path for consumers to buy your products and are becoming a must-have in order to stay ahead of your competition.
Internet of Things in Retail for SMBs
The internet of things (IoT) is a collection of connected devices that collect data using sensors to give businesses more insights into their operations, equipment, inventory, warehouse, and much more. In retail, this helps streamline replenishment, warehouse management, customer engagement, and equipment maintenance, among other things.
66% of surveyed retailers say that IoT has had a positive impact on their processes and 88% say that IoT provides better insight into their customers.
Boosting the Holiday Shopping Season with eCommerce Tools
By now, most people understand the importance of having an eCommerce aspect of a business. More people than ever before are using the internet to browse, research, and make final purchasing decisions. For SMBs, it’s crucial that your website, apps, and digital customer experiences are up to par.
Build a Better Website
The first major part of eCommerce is having a website designed to make it easy for consumers to find products they need, learn about your business, and make purchases. It’s truly your digital storefront. It makes your business’ first impression, provides key resources buyers need to make decisions, and eventually is where sales will be made.
What if yours is not up to the task? There are many things a website can do to turn OFF potential customers. From poor messaging to bad design or an unintuitive layout, if your website isn’t performing how you think it should, you need to identify the problem and plan out a solution to help drive more sales online.
Utilize Social Shopping to Build Awareness
Along with websites, social media has become a huge part of selling online, building brand awareness, and connecting with your audience. By 2024, the social commerce market is estimated to hit $84.2 billion and continue to grow at 47% per year.
Today, businesses have a ton of options to advertise their products and brands on social media. On Instagram, you can have product-specific posts that link directly to your website page. On Facebook, you can list your hours, address, contact info, and product catalog right on your page.
Social shopping takes the best of eCommerce and social media influencing and combines them to create a powerful tool that SMBs must be using. 98% of consumers plan to use social purchasing to make at least one purchase this year. If you’re not utilizing these tools, you’re missing out!
Don’t Forget Cybersecurity During the Holiday Shopping Season
The holiday shopping season opens up a lot of doors for small businesses to increase sales and find new customers, but it also creates many dangers that most will not know about until it’s too late.
Securing Your Website to Protect You and Your Customers
Cybersecurity attacks grew 20% in 2020 and continue to rise as more and more shopping is done digitally and more consumer data (financial, credit card info, personal information) is shared with and trusted to retailers like your business.
Common retail attacks like credit card skimming, magecart attacks, DDoS attacks, and more aim to steal money or information from your business and your customers. But SMBs are learning and adapting quickly with over a quarter of businesses able to detect breaches, reduce the impact of breaches, and fix breaches faster than they could a year ago. Don’t let your business fall behind!
Aside from the clear benefits of being able to secure your business and protect your customers, it’s a distinct competitive advantage to have proper cybersecurity measures in place. Being able to quickly detect, react, and recover from attacks saves you money, time, and reputational harm, all of which can be lethal to small businesses.
The Dangers of Cyber Monday and Black Friday for SMBs
Digital selling alone can be dangerous without protections in place, but on especially busy days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it can be hectic as businesses balance huge demand and high traffic levels with their cybersecurity needs. And cybercriminals know this.
Shoppers will spend over $10 billion on Cyber Monday alone, but many of them, nor the businesses they choose to patron, will spend much time considering the security vulnerabilities created by so much traffic and spending. Cybercriminals see days like these and see only opportunity.
So, what can businesses do to protect themselves and their customers from those with mal intent?
Whether it’s eCommerce, social selling, cybersecurity, or automation, much of what you can do to optimize and improve the way your business runs goes through your website. If it’s not up to the task, your business isn’t going anywhere. Take a look at Impact’s custom web design and development services to see what we can do to support your business.
Learn what it takes to create a better, more optimized, and more effective eCommerce business website with our eBook, What Makes a Quality Website. Download it now!