The holiday season is a busy time of the year for shoppers and retailers. Shoppers are looking for the best bargain possible to buy gifts for their loved ones and retailers are under pressure to come up with a successful holiday plan to get shoppers into their door and buying their products. With so much going on, it can be stressful for small businesses to step up their game and capitalize on the top trends.


In order for small businesses to stand out from the crowd of competition during the holidays, here are several tips they must follow:


1. Offer Shopper Incentives
The best way to draw in shoppers is by offering perks. Many retailers offer a doorbuster deal on a few select items during the holidays that are discounted and only offered for a select period of time. These doorbuster deals are a great way to entice customers to buy specific items on sale and encourages them to shop around to see what else your store has to offer. Other perks small businesses can offer include free gift-wrapping, free shipping, and guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve for a certain amount of time. 


2. Provide Discounts Online and In-Store
It’s important that small businesses provide discounts through a variety of outlets, including online and in-store. Not all shoppers want to get out in the crowds during the holiday season, and resort to buying their purchases online. Offering discounts online accommodates those shoppers who would rather purchase items instantly and at their own convenience.


Likewise, it would be smart to provide sales that are only applicable to in-store purchases. This will get customers inside your door and heighten the probability that they will additionally buy other items they notice while shopping in-person. 


3. Use a Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs are a great enticement to not only attract customers during the busy holiday season, but year-round as well. Loyalty programs reward customers with a variety of incentives and help boost repeated business for small businesses. Integrating a loyalty program for your small business will not only reward shoppers for the items they buy, but will lure customers to become repeated shoppers so they can continue applying future discounts. In return, small businesses that utilize a loyalty program will gain more revenue over time. 


"Make it interesting and fun for them to engage with the program. Some of the ways to do this are in-app games, random surprise and delight campaigns and leaderboards,” said Vic Mahadevan, CEO of Punchh, a mobile CRM suite. 


4. Engage on Social Media
Social media is a great outlet for small businesses to connect with their shoppers. With social media, retailers can offer online or in-store discounts for customers who like or follow their channels. It is also important that small businesses keep their customers engaged by posting captivating content on their social sites – infographics, videos, graphic banners, and blog posts are all great examples of content. Make sure any content that is posted isn’t too lengthy or overly self-promotional in order to keep the customer interested. 


5. Get in the Holiday Spirit
Decorating your store with holiday décor can completely transform the look and feel of your small business. Having a store window filled with an elaborate holiday display will undoubtedly captivate shoppers walking by. It is equally important to fill your store with a variety of festive flair – wreaths, holiday props, and lights are all examples of additional décor your small business can hang up. 


Keeping up with the holiday season can be a stressful time for small businesses. With so much going on, retailers may forget to leverage the holidays to their advantage to gain additional revenue and customers. Small businesses can focus on having a seamless holiday experience by offering shopper incentives, providing discounts for both online and in-store, using a loyalty program, engaging on social media, and getting their business in the holiday spirit.