Get Started! 4 Tips to Plan Holiday Promotions that Work

Posted: September 20, 2022
Category: Spotlight on Business

So, are you getting your store ready for the holidays? It may seem a bit early, but September is the best month to start planning the promotions your business will need to bring in holiday shoppers. The retail environment is unpredictable for major big box retailers regarding excess inventory and supply chain issues. Customers’ buying behaviors are changing, and it can be challenging to determine what type of promotions will entice them to open their shrinking wallets. However, before deciding on specific dates for sales, discounts, or coupons, your store needs a plan of action to wrap up the year with a profitable selling season. Here are four key factors to consider in developing an effective promotional strategy.

Establish the Right Timing
What works for one store won’t necessarily work for another business regarding when-to-time sales and events. Independent retailers operate establishments in various parts of the country where climates differ, and many products are geared to specific regions. What is “too early” for one store may be “too late” for another business. It’s critical to get the timing of your promotions right. Here are some helpful research results from the National Retail Federation that can assist you.

  • Approximately 40 percent of people begin their holiday shopping before Halloween
  • Forty percent of shoppers wait until November
  • Fifteen percent of gift-givers wait until the first two weeks of December

Consider the Product’s Affordability
Although most products in hardware stores are relatively affordable, items such as grills, power tools, and multicookers can be expensive. Rather than buy all gifts, shoppers spread their spending to enable purchases to fit into their budget. Whereas impulse items are typically inexpensive, buying big-ticket items requires additional thought before deciding.

The affordability of the products you plan to promote as gifts should determine how early you promote the items. People may want time to research, review features and benefits, or consider similar products. Be prepared to start sales earlier to get a jump start on competing retailers. Easily affordable gift merchandise can be put on sale in November and December. Black Friday sales are eagerly anticipated by shoppers and generate traffic for retailers who offer good deals.

Accommodate Your Customers
Do you plan to open early or close the store later during the holidays to accommodate your customers? People appreciate retailers willing to go the extra mile to be helpful. Inviting female customers to do holiday shopping during a festive ladies’ night can start an annual tradition. Offering customers free assembly on high-end grills is a bonus most people would appreciate. Promoting these sales and offers incentivizes gift-givers to shop your business. Rather than planning several short promotions, extend the timing of each sale to build momentum and enable more customers to benefit from them.

Leverage Your Resources
Think about what resources you need to put in place to coordinate sales, events, and special offers to prevent any glitches when the promotions are launched. The plan you develop should take an omnichannel approach that integrates your online business or website and what happens in the physical store. The holiday season is one of the most competitive times of the year, and you’ll want your business to stand out and appeal to holiday shoppers.

Planning is a team effort. Create a checklist of everything that needs to happen. Include a planning calendar, budget, and each employee’s roles and responsibilities. The earlier you start planning, the better. The calendar should include dates of every promotion, tasks that need to be completed, holiday vacations, and work schedules. Share the information with the team. Now is the time to Identify the promotions and steps your business needs to take to capture holiday sales in the months ahead.