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Five Strategies Small Businesses Can Use To Lure Last Minute Holiday Shoppers

There are 11 days until December 25, and that means time is running out for you to lure those last […]

There are 11 days until December 25, and that means time is running out for you to lure those last minute holiday shoppers. But all is not lost! For the next several days, you can still ring up those last minute holiday sales by taking a few more steps to attract buyers.

I’ve got some actionable strategies you can use right now to boost your 2015 sales numbers. No matter what type of business you have, one or two of these is bound to be perfect for you.

Five Strategies To Lure Last Minute Holiday Shoppers

1. Use the telephone.

Make some warm phone calls. Ring up your most loyal customers and let them know that time is running out to get their favorite products in 2015. Before calling, make a note of their previous purchases and positive feedback so you can refer to them in your call. Make your calls friendly but direct and to the point. Last minute holiday shoppers don’t have much time to waste.

Here is a simple script that can be edited for your particular business:

“Hi Mary, it’s Lisa Smith, president of ABC company, happy holidays! As we close in on the last few holiday shopping days, my stock is dwindling, and I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss out on a chance to purchase your favorite products for yourself or as gifts before they are all gone. I selected two specifically for you. Can I tell you about them quickly?”

If you can add a gift card and wrapping, all the better. If you don’t call at a good time, request permission to follow up with a quick email containing easy purchase links.

2. Send out email updates.

If you don’t already have an email marketing system, prioritize that for 2016. (I’ll share tips in an upcoming column.) Email marketing works, and now is the time to beef things up with a few extra emails to share last minute sales opportunities with the people on your list.

These emails should be super short with a subject line that is specific and time sensitive. You might try something like this:

“Subject: Only 15 XYZ products left and they are gone forever!

Dear Mary,

During these last few days of holiday shopping, I don’t want you to miss out on the last 15 XYZ’s that we will have left this year. They are going fast! These are our most popular holiday gift items and I don’t want you to miss out on a chance to gift them to your closest friends.

Order here (LINK) by Date/Time, and we guarantee it will be on your door step by Date.

Get them before someone else does! (Link again)

Questions? Just click the reply button and we’ll answer quickly!”

Again, if you can include gift wrapping and a card, do that. Make sure the email is clear and easy to scan, and make it easy for people to ask questions by quickly replying to your email. Remember, it has to be both fast and easy.

Statistics show that the addition of  P.S. at the bottom of an email can increase clicks, so you may with to add a short post script with a link as well.

3. Minimize clicks for last minute online shoppers.

Update your website home page with a holiday graphic that links to a single page with all of the items you are looking to sell to last minute shoppers. Putting them all on one page makes it faster and easier for them to see and order everything they need with fewer clicks.

Use the graphic on social media with a link to the page to widen your sphere of influence. You may also wish to purchase a sponsored post from the social media outlet where your customers spend most of their time. For most small businesses, this means Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter.

4. Add a special incentive.

If your network includes other entrepreneurs (and it should!), connect with them to see if you can swap any last minute special incentives.

For example, if you sell baked goods and your business colleague sells candles, you could partner for a limited number of customers to receive a sample of each other’s goods. So — swap 10 of your products for 10 of your friend’s products (of roughly equal value and shipping expense), so each of you can use them as incentives to drive those last sales home with a minimum purchase. This increases exposure for each of you, while also boosting last minute sales.

5. Host a home party.

You still have 11 days left to open your home to friends, neighbors family members by hosting a shopping party that combines a little fun and levity with opportunities for people to buy your products.

If possible, co-host it with 2 or 3 friends so you have people to share the work load. Serve light refreshments, play festive music, offer gift wrapping, and you have a fun time that produces sales.

Here is an example of how this can work. On the last Saturday before December 25, Holly Port of Lotion Bar Cafe, a bath and body product company in Colorado Springs, Colorado, hosts a “Stop and Shop” party in her home. She announces the event using the Facebook Event feature, and her friends and loyal customers share the news. You can also invite friends via email using free email invitation services like Evite or Puchbowl.

Holly places an assortment of her bath and body products into a kraft bag decorated with seasonal tissue paper, tops it with a festive ornament, and sells each gift-ready bag for $25. Customers can also get a card if desired. Once that pre-made bags are sold out, Holly closes her business for holiday break.

Stop and Shop is officially open from 1pm to 6pm the Saturday before Christmas, but once Holly announces it on the Monday before that, people begin calling right away asking to purchase last minute gifts on their way home from work or while out running errands.

You can see the announcement for Holly’s 2015 Lotion Bar Cafe Stop and Shop here. Holly recalls that last year, she made $500 in just a few minutes when two women stopped by, and each purchased 10 bags at her Stop and Shop event.

Be Proactive!

It’s easy to become discouraged if you haven’t sold out of all of your holiday merchandise by this time. But whatever you do, don’t just sit there waiting for customers to come to you. That is not a good strategy considering all the options they have today.

Be proactive by reaching out to your best customers. Invite them in! Let them know you want their business and are willing to work for it. They will appreciate that.

With a bit of planning (even at the last minute), you can create easy incentives to lure last minute shoppers. Ready, set Go!

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