The festive season is a great time to promote your small business or side hustle, helping you to engage new customers, and secure return visitors, during one of the busiest times of the year for retailers.

With the e-commerce industry rapidly growing, now is a great time for small business owners to come up with their digital marketing strategies.

Chloe Chai, a spokesperson for Business Name Generator  has shared her five step-by-step guide that small e-commerce and product-focused businesses can use to build their marketing strategy ahead of the holiday hype.

  1. Create a personalised holiday gift guide

Nothing says a gift guide like one that is personalised to your target audience. 

Online gift guides help to give shoppers a quick and simple way to select suitable gifts for their loved ones. 

For shoppers who are short on time and have plenty of people to buy gifts for, carefully select items that are on trend and suitable to what your customers would want to buy, you are offering an extremely easy customer experience.

A great way to do this is by categorising gifts by personality. So instead of giving consumers a long list of ideas, consider splitting the guide up into ideas for different kinds of people, ages, and interests. 

You can also introduce items such as baubles, snow globes, calendars, jumpers, blankets, towels, alcohol, mugs, glasses etc. that can be personalised with the person’s name to make that gift even more special and of course, adaptable.

  1. Offer gift wrapping and personalised unpacking

Many people’s pet hate include wrapping presents, and as festive shopping can be pretty hectic, customers love any extra services you offer that can make their lives easier.

Therefore, if you run a retail business, offering gift wrapping to your customers this holiday season would be extremely beneficial.

A number of retail and e-commerce brands are doing all they can to make the experience of unpacking their products as exciting as possible. TrunkClub is one example, instead of choosing a standard box sealed with clear packaging tape, they opted for a custom printed box with a handle that resembles a trunk, closely accentuating their brand.

Therefore pushing your businesses that bit further will not only make your brand more unique but also create a personalised customer journey when receiving your items.

Using social media, consumers can voice not only the gift they have received but the experience of receiving the gift.

  1. Product and optimise festively themed content

Social media is one of the biggest marketing tools today, and ​​creating content in the run-up to the holidays will let audiences know your business is ready and raring for the festive season.

Customers always love solutions that solve problems, therefore if you are a local store, you could share recipes for Christmas dinners or holiday cocktails using ingredients your store sells.

Or a home/DYI store could upload a YouTube video demonstrating how to spread deicing salt on driveways or how to make the perfect Christmas  potpourri bowl.

Not only will this content help customers, but it can also create awareness and build trust with your brand so that, when consumers are ready to make a purchase, they think of your business.

  1. Run a giveaway on social media

Everybody loves winning, especially freebies, and competitions are not only fun but also a cost-effective way to attract new followers and generate hype around your products/services.

To obtain maximum exposure, advertise a competition that calls on participants to engage with your social media accounts for a chance to win a prize. A common theme across social media platforms is that engagement with content increases visibility, so this is an intellgent way to increase rband awareness and consumer consideration.

There are several ways to do this, such as a classic “comment to win” contest, a “most-liked photo caption wins” contest, or ask followers to share the contest to their page and tag a friend to be entered into the prize draw. 

Essentially, you want to keep the rules simple and make sure it’s clear to your followers what they are. You can also be creative with your competition, and of course, make it Christmas-themed.

Prize ideas should ideally be related to your business to give potential future customers a taste of what you offer. Whether it is a hamper stocked with all of your best items or a voucher for an experience- customers are bound to be hooked.

  1. Reassure customers of your Christmas returns and delivery policy 

Particularly for those customers getting their Christmas shopping done as early as possible,  a standard 30 days return policy may not provide a big enough window for items to be returned. 

Therefore, it is worth offering a more flexible return policy during the holidays to give customers that extra time. 

For example, you could extend the returns window to 60 days after the original purchase date. Alternatively, you could allow all returns to be made throughout the month of January, regardless of when they were bought, as long as it follows the returns policy terms and conditions. 

If your business offers delivery, ensure you are clear on delivery slots and times during the Christmas period. 

Delivering items during the holidays can be extremely hectic, however, if you are certain your items will be delivered to customers before Christmas day, make sure to let them know.