In the ever-expanding holiday shopping season, expectations and demand of consumers have changed. Regardless of the size of your company, your customers expect that their shopping experience will be as seamless as those offered by big companies. To succeed and grow, your small company has to always look and behave like your competitors – large and small. Some of the unique challenges small businesses face today are online commerce and payments, branding and marketing, selling internationally, and customer service.
So how can your small business look like the big guys during the holidays? To look big, you have to act big. And to act big, you have to invest time and resources in the latest tools and practices to emulate what larger corporations are doing. Fortunately, there are a many things your business can execute on now to help overcome some of the inherent challenges of being a small business competing with big businesses during the holidays.
Here are a few key areas to ‘look big’:
Your Online Presence — If you are selling online, your e-commerce platform needs to look as good as the largest online retailer. Or at the very least, your website needs to look as if it was not launched yesterday.
These days you can create a modern, professional website and e-commerce platform that incorporates speed, design and mobile optimization – all for a fraction of what it used to cost just a few years ago. It is important to ensure thatall content is consistent everywhere, particularly on social media, for your customers during the holidays.
Invest in branding — If you look at any big company,the look and feel of all of their online and offline properties are consistent – from their website to their e-commerce platform to their social media assets down to their stationery, business cards, and paperwork. That’s what the big companies do. And that’s what small firms who want to compete with big companies should do.
If you don’t have a logo, get one. Or if your logo looks woefully out of date it may be time for an upgrade. Hire a marketing consultant or a designer from freelancing sites or sign up with companies who can provide you with a one-stop branding solution. Having your company represented strongly will have an impact during the busy holiday season.
Choose a scalable platform with a trusted payments partner – You will want to incorporate a secure and reliable payment and processing option to speed up your customers’ experience and complete transactions quickly. For the holidays, speed and trust is critical.
SEO – you must get found online– Big companies invest heavily to get their websites found online, and even more so during the holidays. Having a budget for SEO (search engine optimization) and Google AdWords is “a must” for anyone selling online. Start small and focused and see what gets you the most clicks. Increase your spending slowly and always watch your conversion cost (that’s the number of leads you get based on the money you’re spending).
Expand your market by selling overseas – tap these resources – including digital payment systems like Paypal, Stripe and Paystack. There are many resources at your disposal when looking to expand your business overseas, including in advance of the holidays. For example, you can find information about consumer purchasing trends, traditions, trade trends and many more on PayPal Passport about a variety of regions.
And lastly, customer service is critical — To compete against the big guys, customer service operations have to be top notch. It is important to invest in this critical area – well in advance of the festive season. There are a few ways you can help do this. You can create a toll-free number on a hosted, automated phone system which then prompts customers with choices and a dial by name directory – calls are immediately routed to the right person. You can ensure your website is up to date and mobile optimized with important and current information about your company.