October is here, and the holiday shopping season is upon us. 

Is your business prepped for the season? From seasonal sales to COVID safety measures, there is one resource you’ll want to utilize to thrive as a business during the holidays: technology. 

As we approach the holiday season, we will continue to see holiday expectations change due to health concerns. A season typically marked by corporate Christmas parties and trick-or-treating now looks bleak to many; however, it doesn’t have to be. 

2020 has shown us, adaptability is an important practice to adopt, in business and personal lives alike. As Jarret Jackson puts it in his Forbes article from May of this year, it’s “both an attitude and a capability: It’s thinking differently about problems so that there are always opportunities over obstacles”, and it is a quality that is required of leaders presently and in the future.  

When the pandemic began and businesses began shutting their doors, commerce moved virtual. Instead of in-person meetings in conference rooms, Zoom meeting rooms became commonplace for business communication. 

At the time, virtual meetings were fun: the world hadn’t yet realized COVID would last most of the year, working from home was a treat, and employees expected things to return to “normal” within weeks. 

As we all know, it’s not over. And, in a time of preparation for the holidays, the best way to adapt is to jump into technology. 

By fully utilizing technology in your company, your company will show adaptability as well as find success in the upcoming shopping season. 

Here are some ways we suggest you adopt technology in your company: 

  • Profit off virtual meetings 
  • Integrate a team SMS application for quick information 
  • Consider virtual holiday celebrations 
  • Prep your online store 
  • Utilize social media 

We can continue mourning our uncommon holiday season, or we can prosper in it. Read below to break down our tips on technology during the upcoming months. 

Profit off virtual meetings 

By now we have all had the experience of attending a virtual meeting. They have been around for a while now, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that the world had to adopt this technology on the fly. We now have months of practice, but we can always do better. We can engage and empower team members in different ways.  

Take a look here to find out how to run a great virtual meeting. While you are looking through these practices, think about how you might adapt these ideas into your plans for holiday celebrations.  

Integrate a team SMS application for quick information 

We all know the importance of staying connected to our customers and team. And while email is a great way to send and receive information, Gartner reports that, on average, emails are opened about 20% of the time, while SMS messages are opened up to 98% of the time, so consider the use SMS applications to quickly and effectively correspond. Check out this list of SMS apps to see which would be the best fit for you and your team.  

Consider virtual holiday celebrations 

Yes, the holiday season is already here, and with it comes holiday celebrations. But, as with most things this year, our holiday parties will look a little different. Remember that the holidays are important for not only growing your business, it is a great time to use technology to get your team together and build camaraderie and have some much needed fun. 

But as ways to show appreciation for all the hard work you and your team has done during the pandemic, we have some ideas.  

Virtual Halloween celebrations:  

  • Team costumes 
  • Office and cubicle decorations 
  • Pumpkin carving contest 
  • Costume contest and parade 
  • End the day early 
  • Grab & go goody bags/activity packs 
  • Virtual décor/costume/Zoom background contests 
  • Virtual holiday game parties 
  • Virtual Holiday Party Themes 
  • Virtual/socially distanced movie  
  • Support other local businesses

Remember to have fun and stay safe. The CDC has given recommendations on how to safely navigate various holidays on their website. We suggest checking it out so you can keep you and your team healthy. 

Prep your online store 

Before holiday shopping picks up, be sure your online store is ready for shoppers. Here are some updates you’ll want to check off the list: 

  • Update stock 
  • Seasonal items 
  • Seasonal sales/offers 
  • Update COVID-19 safety protocols 

For more information on preparing your online store for shoppers, Global Trade Mag gives steps to businesses opening their online stores during COVID-19 holiday shopping. Included in the article are ways for online shopping to be easier for consumers, advance inventory planning, promotion scheduling, and more.  

Further, BBB’s July blog, Dashing Through the Holiday Pre-Planning, details more steps business owners can take for holiday prep. 

Utilize social media 

Once your online store is ready for shoppers, be sure your social media is prepped. 

If your hours have shifted for the holidays, be sure those hours are reflected on your Facebook and Google My Business pages. Consider posting these hours on all social platforms in individual posts, so your customers are aware. 

Further, be sure to publish updates on safety protocols and measures against COVID-19 – masks, curbside pickup, store limits, etc. This will help staff uphold policies and customers not be surprised upon entering the business. 

If you have seasonal items or sales, posting them on social media is a great way to drive sales. Be sure to direct customers to your storefront or online store, so they don’t have to dig to make a purchase. Sendible lists 20 tips for social media marketing during the holidays, including: 

  1. Run a poll 
  1. Bring out the visuals 
  1. Share a sweet story 
  1. Utilize key dates 
  1. Engage with your followers 

For the other 15 tips, click here.  

Social media can even be used for giveaways. Shane Barker details how you can run a social media giveaway to increase brand reach.  

The holidays may look different this year than in years before, but that doesn’t mean the season is lost. Gather your forces, prep your stock and sales, and #NavigateTheHolidays by watching for updates on our holiday site and social media channels, @BBBCentralOK.