It’s safe to say that 2020 has thrown many small businesses for a loop. With all the mandated restrictions, regulations and overall uncertainty, many small business owners may not have had the time to prep for the holidays. If this sounds familiar – don’t worry! Here are 5 last-minute things you can do get the most out of this holiday season.

Small Business Holiday Gift

1. Update your information online

Make sure your business’ hours of operation are up to date on all of your platforms. This is simple, but crucial, as you don’t want customers showing up to a closed store due to misinformation. Not only does this leave a bad impression, but it could cause your customer to go elsewhere instead. A BrightLocal survey revealed that 68% of shoppers would stop using a local business if they obtained incorrect information from an online directory. To prevent this from happening, verify that your hours are updated on all platforms: (1) Your website, (2) Google My Business and (3) your social media pages.

Similarly, if you offer shipping make sure your holiday lead times are clear and accurate on your website. Due to increased shipping volumes, new safety measures and regulations, your shipping delays may be longer than usual this year. It’s extremely important that you make your customers aware of this to ensure they are not disappointed if their purchases take longer than expected to arrive. A gift that isn’t delivered on time could dramatically impact your customer’s satisfaction.

2. Spruce up your website

 Consumer habits have dramatically changed as a result of the ongoing pandemic. On top of the massive increase in online shopping, mindful consumers are increasingly looking to shop locally. According to a 2020 Accenture consumer research, 56% of consumers are buying local more and there has been a 169% increase in e-commerce purchases from new or infrequent customers since the start of the pandemic. So, it’s a great time for you to spruce up your website!

Although you may not have time to rejig your website altogether, it’s not too late to make a few improvements:

  • Update your product pictures and descriptions so customers feel more comfortable making a purchase without seeing the product in person. The more detail you provide, the more they know what to expect.
  • Highlight your existing positive reviews. It’s proven that customers feel more comfortable making a purchase if they see others have done so. Your customer reviews matter more now than ever.

3. Take advantage of social media

 Given the surge in e-commerce and the fact that the average consumer spends over 2 hours on social media every day, it should come as no surprise that social media is the place to be. Because consumers don’t expect as high of a production value on these platforms, it’s the ideal place for a last-minute marketing push. Some creative ways to capture consumers attention on social media include:

  • Create and share a holiday gift guide. People are searching for gift ideas and your products may be just what they’re looking for.
  • Share pictures of your products. (Promotions, new products, best sellers…)
  • Post videos – it has been proven to be the most attention-grabbing and engaging type of content. You can use videos to showcase your products, share tips and how-tos (for example, gift wrapping tips) or simply introduce your team so viewers can get to know you and your business.
  • Host giveaways. Not only do they give you another opportunity to showcase your products, but they are a great way to gain followers and drive engagement. (Bonus tip: Hosting a giveaway in partnership with a fellow small business is a great way to cross-promote each other.)

4. Celebrate your employees

 It’s been a challenging year for everyone and showing appreciation for your employees’ hard work can go a long way. Celebrating the festive season not only increases goodwill within your team, but it’s also good for your business’ bottom line. Workers who feel appreciated are more willing to put in extra effort when needed and less likely to be shopping around their résumés to look for new jobs. Even though your business’ traditional holiday celebration may not be feasible this year, there are ways you can still express gratitude for your employees:

  • Send your employees a thoughtful gift (a card with a personalized message on how much you appreciate them, or a gift card to their favourite coffee shop for example).
  • If you can, offer your employees a little extra time off so they can recharge and enjoy their own holiday celebrations.
  • Host a virtual celebration! You’ll need to get extra creative to engage your team through the screen. Many businesses are opting for a group game, trivia challenge or holiday themed contest, such as a gingerbread house decorating contest, where you send participants supply kits in advance.

5. Secure the necessary working capital

Make sure that you have enough cash to get through the holiday rush. Whether you need to hire extra staff, stock up on inventory (or PPE!), or simply want to secure a little extra padding for the unexpected, you may want to consider a small business loan from OnDeck Canada. The application is quick and easy, and you can receive funds in as little as 24hours – ensuring your business is well equipped to make this season as successful as possible

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