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The Holiday Season is Done. Now What?

The holidays are over and it’s time to review your sales data and look over how your business did this season. Reviewing how the season went will reveal how you can improve your performance next year. Keeping track year to year will help improve performance and increase your gains. Here is a process to make the most of the data you have collected.

Review your sales data

Look over your profit and loss statement for your holiday sales. The numbers will show you which products performed best, how your customers spent their money and how sales compared to other times of the year. There is a lot of data to comb through but here are some of the things you might want to pay attention to.

  • Holiday season sales
  • Peak days
  • Best-selling items
  • Worst-selling items
  • Average transaction amount
  • Most common billing and shipping ZIP codes
  • If you offered holiday deals, the percentage of transactions that used them

These numbers will help show you which items and promotions did the best. It also will allow you to compare the season to the rest of the year.

Calculate seasonal costs

You are looking for the difference between the normal operating costs and the higher seasonal costs. Include any additional marketing you paid for. Remember to include to add in any part-time help you hired, any additional shipping supplies you had to purchase, and any extra payment processing costs. If you had extra holiday-seasonal advertising, be sure to include it as well.

Review customer feedback

Look at reviews and comments left on social media and review sites. See where you excelled and where you can improve. Sort out any unresolved issues that can damage your reputation. Also examine where you did well, where you can improve, and what the most common questions were.

Evaluate your time

How did you spend your time? How much was on profit-boosting activities? Were there time-consuming activities you could outsource? Did you have enough time to conduct all the normal activities of your business as well as the added time needed for the season? Did you hire enough help to keep up with everything? The solution might be as simple as streamlining your processes or it may be that you need to hire more help during the holiday peaks.

Evaluate the season

What went well? What can be improved? Did you make a profit? Why or why not? How can you make more sales and better margins? Did you have enough help? Look at the big picture.

If you made a profit during the season and had great reviews from your customers, and you had time to manage your business during the rush, congratulations! You won the small business holiday trifecta.

If you were overworked, you can start planning to get more help for next year. If your reviews weren’t so good, you can plan for delivering better customer service.

What if your time management, sales numbers, and customer service were good but you still didn’t make as much of a profit as you’d hoped? Then it’s time to review pricing and costs to see where you can make adjustments.

The good news about making adjustments is that you have plenty of time to refine them before Black Friday next year. Consider the other holidays an early test run for improvements to your business.

Post Holiday Sales Checklist

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No Black Friday?

I didn’t see many stores this year for Black Friday because I was in the trenches with a client as usual. My wife, however, was out and about enjoying the sales and battling the crowds looking for some fun gifts. One problem? Several stores she went to were closed. During normal business hours. On Black Friday! She said she saw several other cars pull in, check the door and leave as well. Of course, she reluctantly went to their competitors and spent her money with them as I’m sure the other people did as well. Money just walked out the door and no one was even around to know. If you are in retail, you are open Black Friday, it’s just the nature of the beast. I cannot imagine why a retail store would be closed during normal hours on Black Friday. Meanwhile here are some tips for the rest of you who were open to increase your sales over this holiday season.

 

Increase Retail Sales

Keeping Tabs on Market Trends

Marketing is always shifting and someone always has the next best thing that will “do away with traditional marketing”. There are new ways to deliver content, new ways that consumers prefer to be marketed to but marketing and the marketing fundamentals never really go away. Keeping up with the latest trends can be exhausting but don’t worry, here are 6 hot trends that actually work. Explore your marketing potential with them.

Marketing - 6 Hottest Marketing Trends to watch.png

Tapping Into the Buying Power of Millennials

There are 86 million Millenials in the United States with a collective buying power of $1.3 Trillion. We all know it’s a market that can’t be ignored but a lot of businesses find out it is a market that isn’t like the previous generations. They have a less collective identity but they still exhibit overall preferences in how they buy and consume goods and services. Here is a quick infographic to help with marketing to the generation that still hasn’t flexed its full market potential.

Marketing - How to Market to Millennials

 

Marketing With No Budget: The Meat! (Part 2)

It is truly astonishing how many ways there are to market without spending money if you are willing to spend some time. Of course, when some businesses say they want free marketing it means they want someone else to do it for free. They just need to remember that everyone’s time is valuable and in general, people do not like working for free. Consider a trade, consider what you can do for them, find a way to compensate others even if you are cash-strapped and you will find people more willing to help you. Doing it yourself is the intent of these articles on marketing without a budget but if you can get help, go for it. Of the methods on this infographic, I like YouTube. It’s the worlds second largest search engine and can find an audience that other platforms can’t match if you do it right.

Marketing - More Small Business Marketing With No Budget

Marketing With No Budget: The Meat!

Let’s get to the meat of it. How do you market without a budget? The simple answer is by spending time on your marketing. The less money you spend the more time you will have to spend on getting your message out there. Content Marketing is a great method for establishing your brand voice, gaining credibility and getting your message out to your target audience. Of all the methods in the Infographic below, I am partial to Networking. It has done the most for my business in terms of time spent to dollars earned. Of course, each industry is different but I am of the opinion you can’t go wrong with networking as you explore the methods that work best for you.

 

Marketing - Small Business Marketing With No Budget

 

Marketing for the Little Business

This week we will be talking about how to market your small business. We will discuss Guerilla Marketing, Traditional Marketing, Content Marketing and how to do it all on little or no budget. One truth I have found in marketing is that when you spend less money you have to spend more time, it’s a tradeoff. When you feel you shouldn’t spend money on marketing your business ask yourself what your own time is worth. It might be more expensive in the long run not to hire someone. Of course, you can learn to do it all yourself, just make sure that’s the best thing for your business.

“Don_t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing.” - Mike Volpe