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6 Proven Holiday Promotion Ideas for Small Businesses

The holiday season is upon us, and making the most of it is crucial to ending your year on a high.

Imagine this scenario. 

You send out a personalized email with gift ideas and promotions. Your customer makes their way to your store, you greet them with a hot drink, and direct them to seasonal promotions and shelves filled with gift bundles, a wrapping station, and customized packaging.

If you want to get in the spirit of the holidays, these are just some ways to delight customers and keep them coming back. Holiday promotions are a great way to increase brand trust and loyalty. If your promotions are memorable, your store will be top of mind when the holiday season rolls back around.

This article provides you with six holiday promotion ideas to drive sales and create a memorable experience for your customers. Let’s dive in!

Holiday Promotion Ideas For Small Businesses

Consumers love the holidays. They get the chance to spoil their loved ones and enjoy shopping with friends. Some even like the thrill of last-minute gift buying. Whatever the reason, people are primed to spend.

It’s a huge opportunity for your business to engage new customers and further please loyal customers. If you do it well, you’ll get an engagement boost that also increases sales and brand awareness. 

There’s always a surge in demand around Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas. All offer prime opportunities to get creative with your marketing. How does your point of sale (POS) system fit in? Read on to find out!

(Also, check out our free resource, The Retailers’ Guide to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and the Holiday Season, for more ideas.)


1. Provide Gift Inspiration To Your Customers

Buying gifts is no easy thing to do. Around the holidays, there are so many people to think about. What do you get for your closest friend? What does your mom want this year? Sometimes your customers are short on time and need help and inspiration.

You can help with a simple solution: Develop a gift guide to inspire people to buy suitable gifts for their loved ones. You save your customers time by leading them to the right gift ideas. You can even break the guides into categories like “Gifts for Him.”

Remember to promote your guide in newsletters, emails, and social media channels.

2. Run Email Marketing Campaigns

Following on from idea one, here is where you take advantage of customer data. You can segment your audience based on demographics and personalize your guide. For example, send a male customer “Gifts for the women in your life,” or parents “Gifts for the children.”

Of course, many small businesses will up their email game around the holidays, so to stand out in a sea of promotional emails, try to think of catchy subject lines. Lean into ‘cheesy’ but try to make them funny and create intrigue. Something like, “Trick or treat yourself this Halloween.”

Related: Small Business Email Marketing for the Holidays

Be sure to optimize emails for mobile devices. 46 percent of all email opens occur on mobile — so every time you click send, almost half of your customers will open your email on a smartphone or tablet. They must be visually striking and easy to scroll through with a clear call to action.

3. Hold a Contest Or Giveaway

Any time of year is a great time to win something for ‘free,’ but the holidays represent a unique opportunity to give away gift bundles and hampers. Contests are a fun way to create engagement for your brand – the more people that enter, the more exposure you get.

Social media is a great place to host contests. Make sure you set a goal. Do you want more awareness or to increase your follower count? There’s no wrong answer. 

Get your customers to like and comment on your post to be in with a chance of winning. Go one step further and ask your followers to tag their friends. You can send out gift baskets or get people to come to your store to collect their prizes.

4. Up Your Unboxing Game

Part of the joy of giving gifts is as much about the presentation as the gift. Recently, popular YouTube videos show consumers unboxing their products for the first time. Many go viral! But the aim is to create free publicity and build your brand reputation.

To provide the opportunity for your customers to share their unboxing experience, plan which products you’ll give special treatment to. Ensure you choose the right packaging; it should be sturdy, and everything should fit perfectly.

Try to make your packaging memorable. It should be eye-catching and represent your brand. Some POS systems offer custom label printing, which is perfect for individual packages!

5. Spruce Up Your Loyalty Program

Happy customers are your best marketers. They’re more likely to spread the word about your small business and refer their family and friends. This is especially helpful around the holidays. To spruce up your loyalty program, you can offer gift bundles to give customers an incentive to buy; they get more bang for their buck, and you get a boost to your average order value.

Make use of holiday-specific loyalty programs and cards. You might offer:

  • Discounts on future purchases (great for the early months of next year).
  • Free shipping on orders over a certain amount and a guarantee that if your customers order before a specific date, their gifts will arrive in time for the holidays.

Lastly, your POS software is a goldmine of customer data. Reach out to customers who shop with you the most, and host a holiday-exclusive VIP event. You can offer further discounts if they purchase products on the day, and make the experience special by decorating your store and giving away hot drinks.

6. Partner With a Local Charity

People are in the spirit of giving around the holiday months. Unfortunately, charities see their needs increase around this time. Partnering with local charities is a great way to help your customers give back.

Some ideas might include customers making a one-time donation, giving a percentage of sales revenue to a chosen charity, or collecting round-ups (if something costs $9.50, the customer can round up their purchase to $10 and $0.50 goes to the charity).

Depending on your store and which charity you partner with, you could ask for physical donations; clothes, books, food, and toys.

Make The Most Of Holiday Promotion Ideas for Small Businesses

If you manage inventory well during the holiday period, stock will fly off the shelves. Providing gift bundles and experiences can only up your holiday game. You can utilize reports to see what’s selling and what isn’t. You can even use historical seasonal reports to see which products sold well during previous holiday periods and the products that didn't land.

The last thing you want is empty shelves when your customers are looking for gifts. A robust POS system lets you see stock levels in real-time and get alerts when you’re running low.

You want a simple way to add seasonal staff and manage extra shifts. Your POS system should make it easy to change user permissions and train staff on how to use the software. They’ll need access to customer data, but you’ll need to set limits on what they can access. 

Lastly, you need to streamline the checkout process and provide a stress-free experience for customers already short on time.

All of the above is possible with POS Nation. We offer point of sale solutions that can easily handle the seasonal needs of your store. Our software includes options for easy discounting, inventory management, customer loyalty programs, and so much more.

Want to see how? Schedule a demo to see how you can make the most of your POS system all-year round.


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Lynn Ellison

“POS Nation saved us about 30% on our credit card processing fees.”

Lynn Ellison, Owner Liquor Stop

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