Person's hand holding holiday-themed shopping bags.
From hosting contests to segmenting products by price, these strategies from big retailers can offer helpful inspiration for smaller merchants during the holiday season. — Getty Images/Halfpoint

Consumers appear to have a positive attitude about their holiday spending this year, and small businesses should be positioning themselves to leverage this opportunity.

The recently released 2023 Deloitte holiday retail survey found that this coming season, consumers plan to spend an average of $1,652 — up 14% from 2022 — and that nearly one-third of their holiday budgets will be spent in the last two weeks of November. More than three-fourths of consumers (78%) said they anticipate actively shopping during those two weeks.

The survey further found that consumers of all income groups are expecting to spend more this year, although many will be buying fewer gifts, an acknowledgement of the impact of inflation. They are also economizing in other ways, such as seeking out deals: Two-thirds of shoppers (66%) said they plan to shop on Black Friday through Cyber Monday (Nov. 24-27).

This opens the door for small businesses to capture a piece of that spending by taking steps to compete effectively on Small Business Saturday, which takes place on November 25 this year.

Here’s how small businesses can emulate some of the marketing and merchandising strategies of larger retailers, such as Kohl’s new front-of-store displays, Wayfair’s $50,000 home makeover giveaway, and Macy’s price segmentation, as they prepare for Small Business Saturday, and the rest of the holiday season.

Put seasonal merchandise front and center

Kohl’s has taken several steps to improve the shopping experience for its customers this holiday season, including creating more space at the front of the store for seasonal products. This includes both a curated selection of gift ideas and home décor, with products from St. Nicholas Square, a maker of Christmas villages and other accessories.

The retailer’s new front-of-store Gift Shop displays a variety of gifts specifically for men, women, and the whole family, offering a preview of what’s available throughout the rest of the store. Small businesses can adapt similar displays near their entryways as well, perhaps inspiring some quick and easy gift solutions for shoppers in a hurry, or enticing consumers to browse further.

With 52% of consumers saying they plan to decorate their homes for the holidays, according to research from 84.51°, the data and media company owned by Kroger, small businesses can look for opportunities to mix in some of their holiday home décor items in their front-of-store displays as well.

The recently released 2023 Deloitte holiday retail survey found that this coming season, consumers plan to spend an average of $1,652 — up 14% from 2022 — and that nearly one-third of their holiday budgets will be spent in the last two weeks of November.

Generate holiday shopping excitement with contests and prizes

Many consumers enjoy the concept of gamification, in which they have an opportunity to win prizes when they shop. Home furnishings retailer Wayfair knows this, and recently held its second annual Way Day event, which not only offered discounts on more than one million products for a two-day period, but also allowed customers the opportunity to win $50,000 toward a home makeover.

The contest started on Oct. 18, a week before Way Day, encouraging shoppers to get an early start of gift buying.

Similarly, small businesses could offer a prize drawing to shoppers who make a purchase on Small Business Saturday. Prizes could include a gift certificate for a free or discounted product or service, which could serve to lure the winning customer (or customers) back into the store at a later date.

Segment gifts by price ranges to woo cost-conscious consumers

Even though consumers might be spending more this season, they’ll still be looking for ways to make their money go as far as possible. Many big retailers seek to make shopping more efficient for their price-conscious customers by segmenting their online gift directories into groupings by price range.

At Macy’s, for example, the retailer’s online Gift Finder allows shoppers to segment according to a variety of criteria, including several price ranges — from “$15 and under” all the way up to “Luxe” ($100 or more). Nordstrom offers a similar breakdown.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, meanwhile, offers a simpler version, allowing customers to choose between “gifts under $25” and “gifts under $50.”

Small businesses can similarly make the shopping experience more convenient for their price-conscious shoppers, either online, or perhaps in local advertising, or through ion-store displays. An endcap could contain a variety of gifts under a certain dollar amount, for example, and a sign in the window could tout an assortment of gifts available under a specific price.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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