First, pull up the best seat in the house and get cozy: local business owners and marketers who have weathered so much in the past two years deserve a break. Serving the public is no easy task and you deserve the comfy chair by the fire, the celebratory hottie totty, while we chat about preparing to take good care of your customers in the upcoming holiday season.
Thank you for how you’ve risen every day to meet immeasurable challenges and keeping the public supplied.
Let’s prepare your local business to be both popular and profitable in the 2021 holiday shopping season by identifying and answering a few scenario-specific customer questions and managing where to publicize the answers. Comfortable? Here we go!
1. Customer question: Do you have [x]?
A basic and obvious question that starts a majority of transactions, but the answer turns out to be more complex in the past two years due to the pandemic and related supply chain issues. Customer satisfaction is now tied to simply communicating availability by the following methods:
- E-commerce systems that warn customers if local inventory levels are low or items are out of stock
- Adding your products for free to Google’s Merchant Center managing them for accuracy
- Add products to your Google My Business listings as a form of virtual window shopping
- If you’re selling a hot item, definitely consider investing in video sales
- Ensure every member of your staff is well-trained in and has access to an accurate inventory database
2. Do you know how I can [x]?
If you are able to offer at-home local delivery by in-house or third-party drivers, curbside-pickup and shipping then we suggest you make it happen. These seemed temporary at the beginning of the pandemic but have accelerated sales in many markets. Also, during the holidays, offer gift bags or gift-wrapping with purchases.
3. Where are you located and when are your store hours?
It is so important for your website and local business listings to contain accurate contact information and current hours of operation. Customers may choose to continue to shop in person and shop online to avoid public settings. It should be a priority to make either shopper capable of reaching you and avoiding inconvenience in these difficult times. Wrong numbers to place an order, showing up during incorrectly stated hours of operation or to old places of business because you have not updated your address on every site possible will simply lose you sales.
Your website, Google Posts, social profiles, local or national media and industry publications are all excellent places to shine a light on your activism, advocacy, sponsorship and philanthropy to make everyone feel welcome. A core goal of such work can be to move important causes forward by showing businesses can be part of necessary change. An additional benefit of reaching out to everyone can be winning new loyal customers not just for the 2021 holiday shopping season, but for life.