13 Small Business Holiday Specials

Small Business Tips To Use 365 Days A Year

Small Business Holiday SalesBefore the Thanksgiving turkey’s cold, we’re off to do holiday shopping.

Major retailers like Amazon, Walmart and others already have their holiday sales set.

Small business owners, you can provide service that customers, especially those seeking more than a good deal, want. 

2016 Total holiday retail sales (specifically November and December) will increase to $884.50 billion, up 3.3% from the same period last year, according to eMarketer.

  • 2016 Total holiday ecommerce sales will increase to $94.71 billion, 10.7% of total holiday retail sales.
  • US retail mcommerce sales will to increase to $115.92 billion, 29.1% of total holiday ecommerce sales.

Holiday retail sales - Chart

 How do your small business holiday specials stack up against total ecommerce sales?

Holiday retail sales - Chart

Do your small business holiday specials follow the trend?

The key to small business holiday specials success is the relationships you build all year long. It’s not last minute holiday shoppers looking for deals.

The small business holiday specials challenge is: “How do you set yourself apart from the big guys?”

HINT: You can’t compete on price. 

Therefore, small businesses must build on their ability to add extra value.

13 Small Business Holiday Specials

Use these 13 small business holiday specials to get results regardless of season.

When you create these promotions, ensure  you’re targeting your best customers.  Understand how to increase their average order size!!!Small Business Holiday Specials

1. Provide local delivery

Go the extra distance for the people who live in your trading area. I’m surprised that more small businesses don’t offer this service.

Take a page from florists and delis: create defined delivery areas.

Back when there were independent bookstores in my neighborhood, I decided to send a friend a new novel for her birthday. I called and asked if they could have someone deliver the novel to my friend who lived 5 blocks away. (Note: by NYC standards, this is a very short distance.)

Although the clerk initially told me no, the owner agreed to wrap the book and deliver it for another $5.00. That cemented my customer loyalty! I was surprised that they never added that as a regular service.

2. Give shoppers a place to rest

Holiday shopping can be exhausting, especially if you’re not the born-to-shop type.

Put out a few comfortable chairs where shoppers can catch their breath. Yarn stores have done this for years. It’s a great way to calm waiting partners.

3. Put out the sweets

Give buyers the energy to continue shopping. It’s amazing how far the sugar rush from cookies or cake goes. Trader Joes and William Sonoma are great at offering snacks to entice buyers and fuel their shopping.

4. Discount product that’s not moving

Why wait until you have to severely discount it?

Spotlight slow moving product and call it a “special deal”.

5. Test purchase with second-purchase offers

This is a good way to try to move product that’s not resonating with your customers. For example, ‘Buy these pants, get a belt at half price.” You can do the same thing to encourage people to buy more than one item.

6. Create special shopping hours for your best customers.

Give them the Ritz treatment.

Either open early or close late for your top customers to have a less crowded, more personal shopping experience.

7. Provide child minding

Make a corner in your back room a place where children can stay without being in parents’ way.

Go a step further and have someone read children’s books.

8. Stock up on related necessary products

Don’t make your customers look for things like batteries.

Make them a no-brainer purchase at full price so they don’t need to make an extra trip.

9. Create special, tailored services

Get creative about how you can meet your target audience’s needs.

For example, a food specialty store can offer cooking classes.

Don’t forget to offer these services as a gift item.

10. Collect canned food or other items for donation

Show you care about your community.

At the holidays, people like to support businesses that provide for the less fortunate. This is particularly important among millennials.

11. Cross-promote other local shops

This is a good way to extend your marketing budget. Talk your fellow storeowners. You promote their business and they promote your business.

Note: This doesn’t work with direct or even indirect competitors.

12. Offer customer a special deal for January purchases

Since sales traditionally fall off after the post-Christmas sales. Give shoppers a coupon to indulge during the January slump.

The benefit: people feel good about coupons but often forget to use them. 

13. Remind your customers about birthdays and other special occasions

Holiday shoppers tend to buy for other people. Why not use this opportunity to capture information so that you provide a useful service without promoting them about products they don’t want.

Ask if their purchases are gifts. If so, add their content information to a special email reminder list.

It can be as simple as leaving a pad by your register to capture information such as customer name, email address, reminder (including name, occasion and date.)


The small business holiday specials bottom line:

To maximize your small business holiday specials, test different types of promotions to see what resonates best with your best customers.

As a small business, consider how you can use the holidays to build long-term relationships and provide special service and community.

Ask yourself, “What can I do that my larger competitors don’t?”

What other types of small business promotions would you recommend and why?

Need holiday content inspiration? Here are  41 Titles to Rock Your Holiday Content Calendar.

Note: This article was originally published on

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.


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