If marketing service providers to small businesses have learned anything from this past Thanksgiving weekend, it’s that their clients stand a true chance to compete against major retailers by providing customers with a stellar consumer experience, emphasizing service over cost. This, because the close-knit nature of small and medium businesses enables SMBs to present their clientele with a more intimate, personal shopping experience, attending to individual customers’ needs in a way that larger franchises simply cannot.

The holiday season is the biggest, most lucrative time of year for retailers, with predictions indicating that digital sales will, for the first time, exceed 10% of total sales between November 1st and December 31st. Here at Camilyo we aim to increase the share of small business revenues, so we spoke with consumers and small business owners to identify what can quickly be done to help SMBs benefit from the holidays.

Here is a list of consumer experience best practices which, if adopted, can significantly elevate the SMB shopper’s experience, driving them to purchase despite possible cost discrepancies with big retailers:

Christmas Template.png
Photo source: Camilyo template

1. Give your SMB clients’ landing pages a holiday makeover

“I prefer shopping at smaller stores, mainly those belonging to local designers, to support the local design industry and to select items less likely to be worn by lots of other women.” (Moran Lev, consumer)

Bring the holiday season to life by updating your SMB’s landing page, turning it into a hub of all things Christmas. Decorate the site with Christmassy graphics and provide links to holiday sales and special offers, reminding shoppers that ‘tis a time of jolly, giving and kindness to all. Know your customer base well and add multi-ethnic images and information, to honor those celebrating Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as well.

Christmas banner.jpg

2. Add some cheer with superior social media marketing

“It is hard for people to find you if you can't afford to get your name out there. I love the products I make and part of what sets us aside from large retailers is that we are making natural products for healthy living at a price that is affordable to everyone. Because of this our profit margin is quite low so we don't have extra money laying around for big expenditures on marketing ourselves.” (Tory Steiner, business owner)

These days, everyone is on social media. It’s also an easy way to promote your SMB clients without breaking the bank. Adding social sharing buttons to your SMB’s website enables effective sharing of products by their followers on their own social media accounts. Tailor your social media marketing posts to the holiday season, simultaneously reminding consumers of their own Christmas shopping checklists and providing them with an easy way to buy some of those desired items.

3. Personalize, personalize, personalize!

“My customers keep coming back to me year after year, because of the personal service that I offer. For any institutional customer - i.e. church, school, hospital, hospice - first I send their order and then they pay... Any person ordering for their church, who I have a warm fuzzy feeling about also pays after they get their goods. It makes them not look anywhere else.” (Janice Kaye, Owner, Holy Roses)

“[I'm a small business owner and I like buying from SMBs, because] when you buy from SMBs, you are more likely to find unique and one-of-a-kind items, as well as receive personalized attention, making it feel like they know you really well… like you are special, not just one of the masses.” (Inbar Wasserholtz, consumer)

Give shoppers a reason to stay on the SMB’s website! Personalize customers’ shopping experience with product recommendations, targeted promotions, shipping details and offers of support, individually tailored according to each customer’s unique user history, conduct and transactions. Doing so will likely increase the chance of sales, as customers begin to feel personally attended to and form relationships with the SMB.

4. Increase customer support

“SMB owners tend to manage their businesses and not have enough time to run marketing campaigns, develop their businesses, find good employees… it’s a problem for small businesses.” (Inbar Wasserholtz, small business owner)

SMB owners are jacks-of-all-trades. They run and oversee every aspect of the business, but frankly, cannot be expected to be everywhere at any given moment, if the SMB is to thrive and continuously increase revenues. This holiday season, consider spending some extra time and money on hiring increased customer support for the SMB’s website, to attend to the heightened levels of site traffic and the shoppers’ many queries prior to conversion. Your investment will most definitely be returned, with interest.

5. Simplify checkout process to reduce cart abandonment

“I sell Christian souvenirs and crosses. Many of my customers are not that confident using the internet for buying things. They just drop me an email and say ‘can you send my usual order to me and I will drop a cheque in the post to you?' and I do.’" (Janice Kaye, Owner, Holy Roses)

During the holiday season, consumers are overwhelmed, overstimulated and impatient to get their shopping over and done with. Keep your SMB’s online checkout process as simple as possible, highlighting shipping and delivery dates and fees to keep customers on the fast track to conversion and limit the 27% of shopping carts routinely abandoned due to lengthy or complex checkout processes. Let them know exactly what is needed of them and when their purchases will arrive at their homes. The last thing SMB owners want is a disgruntled customer who was not forewarned that his purchases would arrive the day after Christmas.

With the holiday season nearly upon us, marketing service providers and and their clients stand to compete against major retailers by ramping up their shoppers’ consumer experience, emphasizing personalized and attentive service over reduced costs. Following the above list of holiday season best practices will keep website visitors engaged and online, increasing conversions and overall revenues. Camilyo_Logo_gray C only small.png