If you, like many other businesses are feeling either overwhelmed or confused about how to boost your direct sales and wholesale sales this side of Christmas then this blog post can help! I want to share with you 10 tips to help ease the stress and put you on track for great sales - so let’s get started!
1. Be Positive!
When the world seems gloomy outside and you're struggling to see an end to Covid-19, I want you to take a step back and look on the bright side of things. Your customers want to be encouraged at this hard time, they want inspiration, and most of all they want good customer service with a smile. I truly believe that positivity is a contagious trait and your positivity today whether it be on a blog post or an Insta story will rub off on your customers tomorrow and forevermore.
Look at it from your customers perspective too.. think about how good you feel when you shop with an independent, that's how your customers are going to feel if you are a positive brand, they will not feel like they're being sold to or being pushed into something, they will be extremely happy and grateful that they found a really brilliant product for themselves or for someone else.
If you take one thing away today from this, my number one tip is that no matter what happens, try to keep it light-hearted and choose positivity over everything else.
2. Be Transparent!
Being transparent has slowly become a new trend in 2020, everybody has been stuck at home and there is no hiding what your workspace/home looks like, if the dog is barking or the children are screaming it isn’t seen as unprofessional, it’s endearing and transparent!
Transparency can be used as an evergreen source of content for your business because let’s face it you know your products the best so why not talk about them in a transparent way? Being transparent means talking about how your products are made and what goes into them.
Why did you select that material over that material? Why did you pick that greeting card supplier over the other greeting card supplier? Where did you source your product, what’s the story? The list goes on and you can plan content around all of this to engage with customers and eventually your customers will really get to know you and your product on a more meaningful level.
3. Make every parcel extra special.
Giving presents might be a little different this year, many families won’t be able to open gifts in front of one another and we most likely won’t be spending hours wrapping presents to send in the post so distance giving will become a thing!
Can you add a gift wrap option to your website? Can you offer a handwritten note? These small touches will really make the difference this year and consumers will pay extra to know their loved ones are still receiving a lovely gift.
Imagine being able to send a gift to somebody and instead of a brown box with packaging tape going under the tree, your perfectly wrapped product arrives and they get the same feeling of receiving a present wrapped with love. It doesn’t have to be super fancy, kraft paper and a handwritten note is still as thoughtful and customers will really appreciate these extra details.
4. Update your website.
With most customers coming directly to your website to purchase you need to treat this like your bricks and mortar store. You wouldn’t have a messy shop window with a front door that didn’t work so there are no excuses to have a messy glitchy website either.
Customers will be spending a lot of time on product websites so they want the quickest, easiest way to shop, and having a website that is user friendly is more likely to persuade them to choose you over another brand. Could you create a gift category and put all suitable gifts on this page? A stocking fillers page? The list goes on, whatever works for your customer will help with the sales.
If something is out of stock, it's good practice to make sure you move that item down in your shop. If your shop doesn't do that automatically then spend time each day or week to reorder your products so that the first things that pop up are not out of stock because as a customer there is nothing more frustrating.
Could you offer pre-orders if you are going to receive more of an item before Christmas? Pre-orders can be a great way of building hype, translating to social media, and newsletters and show that you really care.
5. Encourage customers to shop early!
With the rise of online shopping comes the postal delays and they are usually already apparent every other Christmas so I can only assume this Christmas the delays will be worse.
You might sound like a broken record but try to encourage your customers to shop early, it will slowly feed through and they will realise they really should start Christmas shopping to prevent any disappointment when their present to a loved one is delayed and won’t be arriving until the 7th of January!
The couriers have been working so hard this year under very difficult circumstances so by encouraging your customers to shop early you are helping to even out the pressure on the postal services too. With this said, make sure you also communicate your cut off times super clearly and take this opportunity to make the date clear on all platforms. Add a banner to your website, add the date into your social media bios, whatever it takes to make sure it is easy for customers to know when this date is.
6. Steer clear of discounts and deals.
Discounts and special offers can of course be a very effective way to drive sales and I don’t think this will ever change but as a small business owner it is a tricky business because you can easily get into a habit where you often offer discounts and deals and your customers end up waiting for you to do so, preventing sales when you are not running an offer which is not sustainable in the long run.
So instead, why not think about other things that you can do in terms of marketing promotions. For example, if you're going to offer upgraded gift wrap greeting cards, could they be free over a certain spend similar to free shipping? Could you create bundles, and to give a tiny bit of a discount but only if they buy that bundle. They could sometimes end paying more than usual because of the gift packaging because gift packaging is not cheap.
So can you create bundles to make it easier for your customer to shop for gifts without discounting at all? It's all about helping your customer on their purchasing journey. If they can't go and visit a physical brick and mortar store, then you can help them by making it as easy as possible with bundles and gifting options instead of deals and discounts.
7. Show your customers that you shop small too!
Although you might not be able to get out and about to purchase goods from independents at the moment, you can still show up on social media and show your customers you like to shop small as well.
An ideal way to share this with your audience is by creating a gift guide of all the other small businesses you will be shopping from this Christmas. You are not only helping the other brands, but you are also showing that you support small businesses and you will in turn encourage sales.
8. Check in with your stockists.
If you offer wholesale then now is the perfect time to get in touch with your stockists. Retail has had a turbulent ride this year especially for bricks and mortar stores so why not check in with some of your stockists just to see how they are doing?
See if you can do anything to help in any way, whether it be offering them lower minimums for Christmas orders or dropshipping them items whilst they are closed?
I’m sure this flexibility would be welcomed in many circumstances and whilst not all stockists will get back to you, it is showing that you are at least trying to reach out and offer some kind of support.
9. Communication of content is key!
Whilst you might have had to call off a photoshoot earlier on in the year or you are slowly running out of content, it’s the best time to plan your content and most importantly reuse it.
Don’t think that if you use a certain photo or quote on social media that you can’t use it again on your newsletter or blog post. It will more than likely reach different people at different times and if it does reach the same person they are more likely to remember what you’ve said so there really is no harm.
10. Look back at the last lockdown.
We all had hurdles to jump over during the last lockdown so it’s time to level up and be smart this time around (and as a general rule moving forward).
What materials were hard to get last time? Can you bulk buy? Chances are you will use them at some point or another so don’t be scared.
Buy enough materials to get you through another lockdown, because the future is still uncertain and your small business will help you to get through it!
I hope that these tips have been helpful and you are all keeping safe at this time. We can all plan, chat, and help each other through this and most importantly let’s all stay positive!
As a small business you already have the products and the knowledge of your brand but could you be doing more to grow? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a helping hand, somebody to help streamline your processes and save you time in the long run?
My expertise as a mentor is in helping businesses like yours gain the confidence to sell, be more profitable, feel comfortable with your pricing strategy and be the business owner you dreamed of when you started your journey!
By working with me you will learn how to be more profitable and be a proud business owner at the same time!
Let’s have a chat today, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you personally.
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