Although a majority of Canadian consumers are using AMAZON to make their holiday purchases, all is not lost for local businesses looking to rebound their sales during holiday season. RETAIL COUNCIL OF CANADA CEO AND PRESIDENT DIANE BRISEBOIS stated that the success of small businesses depended on their ability to embrace digital marketing.

As per Deloitte’s holiday retail report, 66% of Canadian consumers stated that they would be using Amazon for purchasing their holiday gifts. This is an increase of over 6% compared to last year. Only 53% of Canadians said that they would go for in-person purchases at local stores, which is a decline of 16% compared to last year. Small businesses need to come up with effective marketing plans immediately if they need to stop their revenues from plummeting further.

Stay Focused on Your Company’s Niche Market

DIGITAL MARKETING EXPERTS’ CAO MARYAM GOLABGIR stated that COVID-19 was causing small businesses to cap their advertising budgets for the year. She advised business owners to focus on their niche markets and learn more about the shopping habits of their existing clients.

Golabgir called for businesses to analyze data collected from their existing customers (phone numbers, emails, etc), which could prove helpful in reaching out to them. They should contact customers and provide information regarding their offerings, she said.

Offer Promotions and Perks

Businesses can also remain engaged with their customers by offering promotions and perks, which may range from offering coupon codes to storefront pickup services.

Brisbois stated that email marketing was among the most successful ways for small businesses to reach out to their customers. Smaller retailers should focus on communicating frequently with their regular customers and offer value-oriented promotions and content, she said.

Change Your Messaging Tactics

Businesses need to identify and evaluate how their products or services add value to their customers’ lives and focus on forming meaningful connections with them. This assumes more importance given the competition right now in the market.

With people working and restricted to their homes, their desktop PCs, smartphones, and iPads are all bombarding them with promotions from major corporations. Small or independent retailers need to step up their digital marketing game if they are to survive the current economic situation, Brisebois added.

Partner Other Businesses to Increase Sales

Brisebois stated that partnering with other business enterprises that offer services or products, which complement your own offerings, can be a powerful marketing strategy to attract new customers.

Instead of competing against them, bundle both your offerings and work together to raise your profits, she said. Companies engaged in cross-promotion and forming new partnerships are observing a visible spike in their sales after a long time.

Utilize Online Tools and Training Programs

Due to the pandemic, thousands of major organizations are offering free marketing training programs over the Internet. Many companies and local chambers of commerce are also stepping up to aid small and medium-sized businesses.

Smaller retailers with a storefront located on the main streets are finding it extremely difficult to survive this downturn in sales. Ecommerce platforms such as Lightspeed or Shopify can offer useful turnkey solutions that could mitigate their problems to some extent.

Business owners should also look into free online marketing tools like the Google Search Console, where they can implement new strategies to boost their online presence.