Use Retail Holiday Promotions to Boost Business Year-Round

Today’s shoppers expect retail holiday promotions that support gift-giving seasons year-round. Whether they’re looking for stellar deals on gargantuan birthday presents, or enough bitty bargains to fill Christmas stockings, savvy shoppers turn to the ecommerce mall for answers. It doesn’t matter if your business operates in a brick-and-mortar or online-only environment, the following tips and tricks will help you stay a step ahead by planning the best retail holiday promotions for each season.

Use social media to spring into action

Spring represents new beginnings and the opportunity to take a fresh look at how you promote your business. It’s also a good chance to re-examine your social media presence, which is the key to successful promotions. It doesn’t take much; a short post on each of your social media sites — and your website or blog — every week is a good start. From there, you can gradually increase your social presence until you find an ideal posting rhythm.

Once you’ve cultivated a strong social media presence, you can prepare your business for an Easter sale or Mother’s Day special. Make sure you boost your product supply to meet the expected increase in demand. Post about your wares on social media, and link followers back to your homepage to check out the deals. Soon, you’ll see how sales benefit from your expanded social media outreach.

Sidestep slow summer sales

Retailers quickly learn that summer can be a slow shopping season. You have to work quickly to catch shoppers’ eyes, as sultry days turn their attention away from the internet and towards the beach (in the Northern hemisphere, at least).

For Father’s Day, place banner ads, opt-ins, or overlays on your homepage to alert shoppers about your half-price ties, BOGO (buy one, get one) barbecue tools, or a blowout sale on “Best Dad Ever” mugs. These ads serve as attention-grabbers for shoppers whose minds are elsewhere; but use them sparingly, as overuse can get annoying.

You can further reduce the summer shopping slump by getting creative and promoting less-popular celebrations. You might consider offering 10 percent off of all red and green products on National Watermelon Day (August 3), or have a BOGO sale on Left Handers’ Day (August 13) by encouraging lefties to treat themselves to a pair of left-handed scissors, tools, accessories, or utensils. Alternatively, slash prices on Summer Solstice (June 20 or 21, depending on the year), encouraging shoppers to prepare for their summer festivities with a discounted picnic set, grill, or warm-weather apparel.

Free fall into savings

Have you considered offering free shipping, but are wary about how it might affect your bottom line? This fall, consider giving free deliveries a try before the holiday rush begins. Adjust your prices to counteract the included shipping costs, or set a minimum-order amount to encourage increased spending. It’s wise to provide a modest discount on bulk orders rather than covering the individual shipping costs for multiple single ones. For example, ask shoppers to spend $25 to be applicable for free shipping. If a shopper has $20 worth of merchandise in their cart, they’ll probably purchase another item for $5 or more to earn free shipping. Regardless of how you do it, the fall months are great times to experiment and see which promotions align with your business model so you can implement your best deals once the busier holiday seasons roll around.

The winter wrap-up

Imagine that it’s Christmas morning, and a loved one tosses you a shimmering bracelet. It’s a nice gesture, right? But wouldn’t the anticipation go up a notch — or five — if you’re handed the bracelet wrapped in a lovely little box? Research reveals that visual presentation is imperative when it comes to successful gift-giving. According to The Harvard Business Review, eye-catching effects like attractive packaging, decorated displays, and festive in-store advertising positively influences sales.

If you do have a storefront, you probably hang glittery bobbles, garlands, and twinkly lights in the window or around the counter once autumn ends. But what if your shop is an online enterprise? Adorn your site with seasonal designs. Upload holiday images or change your homepage font and background color to coordinate with upcoming festivities. This doesn’t just apply to Christmas — winter themes are popular across many locations and cultures. Focus on snowflakes, fireplaces, and hot chocolate while offering your end-of-the-year deals.

After a year of promotions, take some time to recharge your business batteries and examine your financial progress. Which seasonal discounts were the most successful? Which ones should you cut next year? Use your savvy insight to rock the next four seasons of retail holiday promos in anticipation of celebrating your annual business growth and renewed holiday spirit. Courses make it easy to start that blog, website or podcast.

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Lorna Hordos

Lorna Hordos is a home-flipping business owner and freelance writer.

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