The holiday season might have officially arrived for consumers when the clock ticked midnight on Oct. 31, but businesses have been prepping their offerings for months, ready to entice shoppers with new sales on all of their favorite products. However, small businesses find their biggest competition is still in major retailers and big box stores that have more resources and locations than a mom and pop storefront might. In a sea full of doorbusters and deals, how can your small business stand out? Rather than try to mimic the success of everyone else, it’s a much better idea to focus on differentiating yourself and your offerings.

Here’s what your small business needs to know about competing against big box retailers:

Put Excellent Customer Service at the Forefront

The National Retail Federation recently released their 2017 Holiday Planning Playbook, designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. NRF’s report notes that this year, consumers will be heavily communicating with brands to get everything they need on their wish list and brands will be responding and following up in turn.

Take a moment to reinvest in your customer service initiatives. How can customers reach you? Open up the lines of communication to be as wide as possible for feedback, from email to phone to social media handles. How are you following up with them post-purchase? Ask if they can leave a review about their experience, whether it was good or bad, on your company website or a review site like Yelp. This kind of feedback matters, as it allows you to learn more about your customers and keep them loyal to your business. By fine tuning your customer service initiatives, you’ll be able to employ a ‘yes’ approach that allows you to engage with customers and assist them with a can-do attitude to fulfill all of their needs.

Add Special Holiday Touches to Purchases

One area where small businesses thrive during the holidays is the ability to go all out with adding special touches to purchases. Simple acts like including a handwritten “thanks for shopping with us!” note and a bonus gift of sample items from your store go a long way in endearing the customer to your brand. All those added touches don’t go unnoticed, so find a way to personalize each order and express the gratitude you have for them shopping with you.

Participate in Small Business Saturday

Created by American Express, Small Business Saturday falls on Saturday Nov. 25. It may be a day flanked by Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but this holiday is just as mighty in showing appreciation for small businesses and their communities.

If you want to join in the fun, sign up to become a Neighborhood Champion! Rally the other small businesses in your area to do the same, and decorate your storefront with merchandise that shows you are participating. Send out email blasts to alert your customers you will be part of the #ShopSmall movement this year, and encourage them to come out and support your business!


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