Everyone’s in a shopping frenzy this time of year. Despite Amazon’s ubiquity and constant talk of “the death of retail,” there are still ways for your retail business to thrive this holiday season.

Sometimes the best advice differs between the size of your store and what products you sell, but below I’ll show you several things that - generally - will help you get the most out of consumer spending this season.

1. Focus on your top selling products.

Most stores have a lot of competition for the same products. Inevitably, to beat competition, you either have to spend more money or take a hit on revenue. Or, you  can try to bypass competition as much as possible.

Regardless of what you want to highlight this season, what are your store’s best-selling products?

What do people want from you the most? Focus on those few items, and more or less forget about the rest.


Because you already know that people want those products - that they’re easy to sell - which allows you to spend less while bringing in more customers. Once you bring in customers, then you can show them other options, too.

This strategy minimizes barrier to entry while providing upsell opportunities. The more customers you get this way, the more you’ll be able to take away from your competition, which will help you thrive.

2. Prioritize mobile.

Mobile purchases now account for 41% of total revenue among top retail brands. People are jumping on their smartphones and tablets to research products, and they’re even buying products this way in droves!

How’s your mobile website?

If you aren’t already, you need to be thinking mobile-first. Instead of having a website that looks good on a computer and then also plays nice with mobile devices, you need to design your site around the mobile experience first.

When you make it easy for mobile viewers to find, compare, and purchase products from their smartphones, you’ll thrive.

A few quick tips to help:

This guide can help you with more ideas, and it won't hurt to consult your digital agency.

3. Streamline store-to-store activities.

A lot of retail businesses have multiple locations, and the more locations you have, the more difficult it can be to keep everything top notch. In fact, businesses miss out on millions of dollars every year because of inconsistencies. (73% of people lose trust if just an online listing for one location is inaccurate.)

Whatever customers experience in one location, they expect to experience in another. When one experience is bad or inconsistent, your branding becomes tarnished, and customers will look elsewhere.

The “simple” solution is to create brand guidelines, and make sure everyone sticks to them across locations. These would include consistent steps for:

  • Advertisements

  • Emails

  • Product displays

  • And more

Unfortunately, enforcing these consistencies can be a real burden, but tools like Zipline can make the process easier for you. The end goal here is to ensure customers have consistently great experiences across all your stores.

4. Have fun with cliches.

You can’t win everyone, but hundreds of millions of people love getting into the Christmas, New Year's, and general holiday spirit. Have some fun with it!

Take a holiday cliche or phrase, and use it for your marketing. Use a Christmas carol lyric or famous movie line to come up with puns and otherwise creative ad copy. If you sell something fragile for instance, you can take the line “Fruh-gee-lay… It must be Italian!” and have some fun with that.

Or offer products that play on traditions, like mouse traps for when families leave milk and cookies out for Santa, or New Year’s hats that also store your wallet and keys.

Don't take yourself too seriously, and have some holiday fun with your customers the same way you might with your friends and family.

5. Pick multiple channels.

It’s helpful to focus on marketing just a few of your best-selling products, but you also want to market those products in different places. Customers and potential customers spend their time in more than one place, and you’ll want to be wherever they are.

That means you’ll want to be sending promotional emails throughout the holiday season (along with recommendations on what else to get). It also means you’ll want to be in places like Instagram, Google and Bing search ads, Facebook, Pinterest, even on local TV commercials, and more. Tools like Hootsuite and Adstage can help you here.

Take your best-selling items, and spread them to wherever your target customers are likely to be. You’ll be able to get a great return, too, because you’re marketing something you already know people want.

Wrapping Up

There’s a lot of retail competition this time of year, but your business can still thrive by following these tips.

Get your best-selling items in front of as many people as you can, make them easy to buy on mobile devices, and ensure customers have consistently great experiences across all your stores.

Do that, and you won’t need to read articles like this anymore!

Published by Kenneth Burke