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Tis The Season To Start Preparing For The Holidays

‘Tis The Season To Start Preparing For The Holidays

We’re coming off of a massive holiday shopping season. Despite a slower-than-expected start to the year, sales were up nearly 6% in November and December. But, while many brands celebrated the end-of-year bump, 2018 has already been tough – think store closings, e-commerce shifts, and other consumer considerations.

While we’re still months away from “prime time,” more and more businesses are focusing on holiday shopping 2018, with an eye on mimicking the 2017 year-end boost. By getting ahead, you can ensure it’s a very happy holiday this year for your business. Here’s what you need to know.

  1. Consumers are researching early

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), one in five consumers are researching holiday purchases before September. That means this summer your shoppers could be clicking around, reading reviews, and making their lists then checking them twice. By October, well over half of consumers will be solidly in research mode.

This gives well-prepared businesses an opportunity to make a serious impression and lock down a spot on their customers’ must-buy lists. So make sure you’re ready to go when they start digging around. Because when purchases start (even as early as Halloween) you need to be all in.

  1. Spring and summer are solid planning seasons

The optimal time to get started? Immediately after the last holiday shopping season. Revisit your sales and profits to determine what worked and what didn’t. After that, spring and summer are best time to prepare by building out gift guides and planning inventory for the holiday shopping season. By end of summer or beginning of fall, campaigns should be ready to drop.

  1. But don’t let offer fatigue set in

While it’s important to reach the early birds, don’t drop your holiday campaign or promotions and call it a day. Not only do those fall shoppers keep buying until go time, but plenty of buyers start researching well before they start making purchases.

“NRF data found that seven in 10 shoppers said they no longer felt pressured to immediately jump at holiday deals because they’re generally confident that good promotions and deals will last throughout the season.” If you allow your communications, messaging, and product offerings to get stale, customers will likely look elsewhere when it comes time to buy.

  1. Determining your holiday

Depending on the nature of your business, “holiday” could mean lots of different things. For many retailers, it’s Christmas. For others, the Fourth of July is the list-topper or a close second to December 25. For others, though, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or even Boxing Day could be major opportunities to drive epic sales. While most businesses know where they fall, if there’s any question look at your customer base and sales trends from the last year or two to get a sense of when things pick up and slow down. You may have the luxury of time right now – use it to your advantage.

But the best way to prepare for the holiday rush? Make sure your point-of-sale is ready to protect your customers’ sensitive payment data. Contact us today to learn more about the layered security of EMV, tokenization, and encryption.

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