5 Ways to Get Your Food Business Ready For the Holiday Season
For small food businesses, preparing for the holiday season can be the difference between huge sales or disappointing results. Here are five things you should do to help make your holiday season the best one yet.
1. Present products to buyers early
For grocery stores and local markets, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year! With new products to promote, significant increases in the number of sales and a high quantity of holiday shoppers, store employees are often working at their full capacity.
If you’re looking to present seasonal items to stores, it’s a good idea to talk to buyers as early as possible (some buyers won’t even accept meetings during the holiday rush). Not only will you gain an advantage by getting your products in front of buyers before your competitors do, but you’ll also be able to more accurately estimate the projected volume you’ll need to get you through the season.
Plus, the earlier you can get your product accepted into a store, the more time you will have to negotiate better placement to increase sales!
2. Optimize your website
Even if you’re expecting the bulk of your holiday business to take place in a retail store, having a website up and ready to go is imperative for success.
For companies that sell on an e-commerce platform as well as in brick and mortar stores, testing and confirming that your website will be able to handle an influx of orders will help to reduce your stress levels. There’s nothing worse than having to overhaul your system at the beginning of December due to technical glitches (and miss out on all of those holiday sales!)
And even if you aren’t planning on selling products online, having a website set up can still be a great way to increase awareness of your brand. In fact, 8 out of 10 shoppers are influenced by online sites before they make holiday purchases. That’s a huge market of consumers you can tap into just by having a website.
3. Market early
The holiday season seems to start earlier every year (stores like Hobby Lobby even start setting out their holiday merchandise in the middle of the summer!). But while it may seem ridiculous to start marketing before autumn hits, creating your marketing strategy long before the holidays arrive is the best way to ensure success.
Remember, during the holidays you’re not only trying to persuade shoppers to buy your products, you’re competing against numerous other competitors. Solid marketing can show what’s different and unique about your business and help you to stand out amongst the thousands of other retailers.
Digital marketing (like social media and email), is one of the easiest ways to generate buzz and increase your brand awareness. Just take a look at how many #psl posts you can find on Instagram and Twitter! (#psl stands for Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte, one of the most iconic seasonal foods there is).
If you are planning on selling your products on your online store, this is also the perfect time to develop a cart abandonment email marketing strategy to draw interested customers back to your store.
4. Plan out your promotions
Building off of marketing, the pre-holiday season is also the perfect opportunity to start planning out your promotions.
Whether they’re shopping for gifts or shopping for food, consumers expect to see big savings and promotions going on during the holiday season (there’s a reason Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year).
But while food businesses don’t typically see quite the same levels of sales that other consumer goods companies might in the days following Thanksgiving, November and December can still be great months for your business.
Planning out in-store promotions with your retailers is one way to draw attention to your brand and drive sales. Snagging premium shelf space (like an endcap or floor display) or just running a deal advertised in-store can pay off bigtime.
Impulse buying is also a big way to grab shoppers attention during the holidays (stocking stuffers anyone?). Whether it’s a display of your seasonal pumpkin flavored goodies near the register or a smaller “gift size” version of your product on a holiday endcap, impulse buys are a great way to pique interest and introduce new consumers to your brand.
5. Hire seasonal help
Getting ready for the holiday season isn’t just about figuring out how to sell the most product, it’s also about making sure you’re ready when that product sells.
Manufacturing and packaging products can take up large amounts of your time, leaving you little energy to focus on actually running your business.
Instead of trying to do it all yourself think about hiring on extra seasonal help. Extra hands can be invaluable when large amounts of orders come in, or you’re needing to make a last minute stock delivery. Just make sure you hire someone before the holiday rush starts. It’s easier to train new employees when everything is still relatively peaceful!
Not sure where to look for seasonal employees? Here’s a great guide to get you started.
The holiday season can be feel overwhelming, but with a little preparation beforehand you can help keep your stress level down and increase your sales!