How to Prepare for the Holidays: Forming a Pricing Strategy

The holiday season is prime time for getting more shoppers and revenue. Crafting promotions that are eye-catching yet still protect your budget is a key part of holiday pricing plans.

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There are two important parts of any customer journey: making an offer and making a sale. While closing the sale is especially important, convincing the customer to even plan on purchasing something is the real key. That’s where holiday retail promotions come in as essential parts of holiday offers and year-end pricing strategies.

Customers have long been trained to look for holiday deals, but what those sales and Christmas promotions are will likely vary from business to business.

From promotion ideas to pricing tips, these are some of our favorite ways to boost sales and increase revenue during the holiday shopping season.

1. Use loss leaders

Step one around any marketing holidays is always going to be getting customers in the door and excited. To do so, some retailers offer “doorbusters” or “loss leaders.” Items that are not part of a traditional pricing structure in that they aren’t priced to make much profit.

These are the deals that are too good to be true and bring customers in the door. Once they get into the store, you can easily sell other items to them. Loss leaders let you grab attention so you can make the most of every transaction.

2. Upsell and cross-sell

You’ve surely seen it before, on Amazon or elsewhere: Items suggested for you based on what’s in your cart or in your previous shopping history. Let’s face it — especially during the stress of holiday shopping, customers want easy buys. That’s where upselling and cross-selling comes in.

By making sensible suggestions based on what your customers are already interested in and showcasing values they are already keen on, you can capture more sales while still fostering the idea that you are connected to them personally.

3. Plan ahead and look to smaller holiday sale dates

It is always well advised to have a plan for sales. For starters, your sales and promos should be integrated with your content calendar.

It’s best to have a general idea of margin wiggle room at least a quarter ahead of time, so you can strategically plan pricing and sales. Leave enough room to be flexible so that you can react to market changes.

You will also want to plan around shopping holidays. Sure, there are the big ones like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but don’t forget to make the most of less obvious dates when you could get more eyes on your products thanks to there being less competition.

Green Monday (the second Monday in December) is traditionally the last safe day to order items with standard shipping and ensure they arrive before Christmas without worry. Super Saturday is the last Saturday before Christmas and is often just as busy, if not more so, than Black Friday! These dates are perfect for selling to desperate holiday shoppers on last-minute gifts and stocking stuffers.

By advertising sales for these lesser-known shopping holidays, you will be able to attract more customers.

4. Consider raising prices

It's not just about the sales! As you slash the majority of your prices, take a look at sales reports to track top-selling items and capitalize on demand to increase your profit margins just a little.

With so many other sales going on, most customers will not notice a slight increase or will be unbothered by it in the name of convenience, availability, and great customer service.

5. Stalk the competition

Knowledge is often your best weapon. While you will always want to adjust pricing strategies as best fits your own business, understanding the landscape will only help inform your choices.

Is everyone else doing a BOGO 50% off? Consider matching or going for the full BOGO to undercut them (if your profit and loss statement, or P&L, allows.) Are you discounting at 15%, but everyone else is going for 25%? Consider deepening the discount a bit to stay within range.

6. In-store vs. online shopping

The retail world is very much two spheres: brick and mortar stores and e-commerce platforms. Both are valuable and viable retail avenues, but they do come with different experiences.

Create as much of a fully formed retail experience and capture customers at varying sale points by utilizing the different strengths of each avenue and offering different promotions online than what you have in your store.

7. Do omnichannel marketing

One avenue of marketing is simply not enough. Your customers are hanging out in all kinds of places, so you need to adjust your tactics to reach them.

Newsletters are a great way to capture and sustain engagement while using email marketing to reach customers. Social media holidays get you in front of your followers (and prospects) on Facebook, Instagram, etc. expanding your brand's reach.

Shake up your approach from channel to channel, too. Your aesthetics for Instagram may not match your calls to action (CTAs) for Facebook. Your onsite banner ad copy should be different from your newsletter. Testing different variations of content and featured deals is a great way to bring in the broadest range of customers.

8. Encourage involvement

Engagement equals brand awareness, which ultimately equals sales. Get your customer base excited and involved, and they will not only be more likely to purchase from you but will also create ripple effects of brand recognition.

Instagram giveaways where contestants need to tag three friends to enter are an easy way to spread the word about your business. Hashtag contests encourage community participation and result in organic content you can use for marketing.

Use these engagement opportunities to advertise your sales, your BOGOs, and your holiday limited releases. Once followers see community interaction and feel included, they are more likely to check out your holiday promotions and maybe become loyal customers.

9. Start sales strategically

Earlier is not always better, as there can be such a thing as too soon when it comes to seasonal promotional days. The line between Thanksgiving and Christmas has become more and more blurred, with holiday advertising creeping into our lives well before Thanksgiving.

However, there is definite “early holiday fatigue” floating around, so be smart with how far ahead of Christmas you transition your promotions from pumpkins into peppermints. It is best to wait until at least a few days after the Halloween dust has settled before changing your site to holiday marketing.

10. Remove opportunities for opposition

Money can be tight, and customers will always look for a reason to say no to a purchase. Make the path to purchasing easier by removing objections and obstacles.

We all know the psychological struggle of seeing shipping costs added on at checkout, so cut them and offer free shipping. Holiday shoppers can be overwhelmed when picking presents for people they may not know too well, so advertise holiday gift card promotions to take the headache out of gift searching.

Spread holiday cheer to your bottom line

The holidays aren’t just the busiest shopping time of the year; they’re also the most competitive. By being smart about your pricing and promotions, you will attract maximum sales while minimizing losses to your revenue.

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