Combat the shorter holiday shopping season with social media

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Competing for those holiday dollars can be tough — and things will be even more difficult this year. Black Friday comes on November 29 — that’s the latest start to the holiday shopping season since 2002, according to this article by Bloomberg Businessweek. Shoppers will have one less week to stuff those stockings than last year.

The late start to the holiday shopping season also pushes Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday back. Small Business Saturday doesn’t roll around until November 30. Business News Daily Contributor Chad Brooks writes:

“When it comes to enticing shoppers, the number of small businesses planning to reward customers on Small Business Saturday, which falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and serves as the traditional beginning of the holiday season for independent retailers and restaurateurs, has increased from 20 percent to 33 percent over the last year. In addition, nearly 70 percent of small businesses will offer discounts on specific items or general discounts on the day, while 36 percent will provide coupons for future offers or discounts.”

So, more small businesses will be increasing efforts and competing over your dollars during this abbreviated holiday season. This is great news for consumers but, for small business owners it means they HAVE to be on top of their game.

Cyber Monday also gets a late start this year. As a matter of fact it doesn’t even make an appearance in the month of November. Instead, Cyber Monday won’t take center stage until December 2. According to Adobe Systems, the pint-sized shopping season will cost retailers $1.5 billion in online sales alone. Adobe doesn’t measure the in-store sales loss.

To make up for lost time, some big-box stores like Walmart introduced holiday deals starting on November 1 according to this article from CBS News. Mega electronics retailer Best Buy got into the fray a few days later.

Staying connected to your customer base could legitimately make or break your year. When I say “staying connected” I’m not just suggesting you upgrade to TDS’ business VoIP solution, managedIP Hosted (although, I do believe it would help). No, I’m also talking about social media.

According to blogger Ryan Pinkham, 66 percent of 2012 Black Friday purchases were the result of social media interaction! Sixty-six percent! Pinkham shared several statistics outlining the importance of social media during the holiday season in this blog post. Here are some of my favorites:

  • 67 percent of consumers have purchased a gift they saw on social media. (Crowdtap)
  • 39.3 percent of consumers say Facebook has influenced them to buy gift. (Crowdtap)
  • 64.8 percent of shoppers use social media to find the perfect gift. (Crowdtap)
  • 47.7 percent of shoppers say that Pinterest content has inspired holiday gift purchases. (Crowdtap)
  • In a recent survey of Twitter users, 64 percent say they have bought a product because of something they saw on Twitter.
  • 45 percent of respondents say they would rather take Twitter shopping with them than their husband or wife!

That last stat was just for fun! But these statistics show that if you want to remain competitive during the all-important, albeit shorter, holiday shopping season, you have to invest some time in social media.

So, what do you think? Was this helpful? Leave your comments below or reach out to us Twitter and Facebook.

About Barclay Pollak

Barclay Pollak is an award winning journalist and proud to be a member of the Corporate Communications team at TDS Telecommunications Corp. (TDS®) in Madison, Wis. Barclay joined the team in April of 2013. Before that Barclay worked as an Anchor/ Reporter for the NBC affiliate in Madison. While at NBC-15 Barclay was recognized by several organizations for his contributions to the television news industry. They include the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, the Radio Television Digital News Association (Edward R. Murrow Regional Award) and the Chicago/Midwest National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (2012 Emmy Nominee). When he’s not working Barclay enjoys cheering for all the sports teams in Wisconsin. Barclay’s a University of Wisconsin-Madison alumnus and a huge fan of Badger athletics. Barclay is fascinated by the ever changing world of technology and spends a fair amount of his free time reading about the latest and greatest developments online. When Barclay’s not learning about technology he’s scouring the Internet in search of freeware. Barclay has an 8-year-old daughter and lives with his girlfriend of almost five years on Madison’s southwest side. Follow on G+.

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