As a retailer or small business owner, you know that each business has its own “seasons”. While most businesses are busiest during the peak holiday season, there are other times of the year that your business could be busier, too. On that same point, your business also probably experiences slower times. No matter what your business is or when you’re busiest or quietest, these seasonal small business success tips will help keep your business thriving year-round.
Manage Your Budget
After last year’s experiences with COVID-19 and how things can change in the blink of an eye, managing your business budget is more important than ever. You want to be sure your budget is flexible enough to handle the unexpected.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to get your budget started:
- What months did you see increased sales?
- What months did you see decreased sales?
- How did COVID-19 and quarantines affect your business?
- Did you see an increase in online sales?
- Were you able to keep your products and shipping supplies stocked?
- Did you see an increase in your shipping costs?
When creating your yearly budget, look at financial data from previous years. This will help you map out your budget, and it will help you take into account unforeseen events. You may also want to consider talking to a financial professional, such as your business banker or advisor, to help you craft and manage your budget. They can identify any holes in your budget and advise you on ways to improve it.
Use Your Offseason
There’s no reason you shouldn’t fully utilize your offseason to optimize your supply chain. Use your offseason to enhance your business strategy and shipping strategy for your busy season and peak holiday shopping season. It’s never too early to be prepared! Optimizing your business and shipping strategies will help mitigate future disruptions to your business, and you’ll be able to cope with those interruptions quicker and easier.
While you have some downtime from shipping, you can also look into what advertising channels are working best for you, so you can invest your money where you are already getting the highest return on investment. Think about ways you can attract customers to your business. What special discounts or promos could you offer? How about discounts on shipping? Even when you’re not shipping, you should always be focused on how you can ship better for your business and your customers.
Keep in Touch with Your Customers and Suppliers
Your customers and suppliers play two very important roles in your business. They don’t just disappear when your business isn’t as busy. Keeping in touch with your customers and suppliers maintains good relationships and keeps your brand in their minds.
Consider creating an email to your customers about upcoming discounts or store news, such as new product offerings. For suppliers, you want to be sure you can always get the items you need before you run out. Remember, suppliers are often affected by tight shipping capacity, shipping delays, and trying to get a lot of products out to a lot of clients. It’s best practice to reach out to your suppliers before you are in desperate need of supplies.
Make a Lasting Impression with Shipping
Many consumers are looking for retailers that can offer them quick and discounted shipping options. As a retailer, you know that nothing is guaranteed when it comes to shipping, but you can make a positive impression on your customers by offering the best shipping options.
Shipping makes a big difference, and a Comscore report found that:
- 58% of consumers said that free and discounted shipping were the top features they wanted to see retailers improve.
- 56% of those surveyed stated they ceased an order due to higher-than-expected shipping costs.
- 20% of shoppers said they expect estimated shipping and delivery in under 3 days. Additionally, 50% of those surveyed expect delivery in under 5 days.
Working with a third-party logistics provider (3PL), like FreightCenter, takes the guesswork out of business shipping and helps you deliver an excellent customer experience. Don’t waste time manually searching for rates or carriers; use our innovative transportation management system (TMS) to streamline and centralize everything shipping.
Now that you know these seasonal small business success tips, it’s time to put them into action. Let our shipping experts help your business ship like a pro by getting a free online quote or giving us a call at (844) 212-7447.