November 30, 2020

3 Things Small Businesses Should Do Now to Prepare for the Holiday Season

Many of us have barely settled into pumpkin spice season and the rhythms of a pandemic school year. Thinking about the holidays might seem premature. But not if you’re a small business with an online presence, according to Google. 

In a recent blog post, Kim Spalding, the search giant’s director of product management, small business ads, insisted small businesses need to start seasonal preparations before they start carving pumpkins. and even if it feels like there’s no point planning for much of anything in the middle of the chaos that is 2020. 

In fact, because of all the pandemic related disruption, fully 71 percent of American adults plan to do more than half of their shopping online this year, Spalding points out. And 66 percent plan to shop at more small businesses. That makes it even more important to get your online presence is sorted out well ahead of peak shopping season. 

Google is offering a small business holiday hub to help. But Spalding also provides a checklist of basic preparations you should make to ensure your business is as visible as possible online. 

1. Claim your business profile. 

“Claim your Business Profile. Once you’ve verified your business, you can share information with shoppers, like your store hours and contact information, your current inventory, whether you offer curbside pickup and if you have any welcome offers,” advises Spalding. 

2. Compare yourself to the competition. 

If someone searches for ‘best burgers in town’ or ‘art supplies near me,’ will your relevant business come up? Google offers another tool to help you determine how your presence ranks vis a vis competing companies, and offer suggestions to boost your visibility. 

“The Grow My Store tool will analyze your site’s customer experience, show how your site performs relative to others in the same retail category and offer tailored recommendations for improvements,” notes Spalding. 

3. List your products online. 

Competing with the likes of Amazon and Walmart is hard enough for small businesses. Spalding insists you give yourself the best chance of beating out the big guys if your products are readily visible to those searching online. 

“We recently announced that retailers offering ecommerce can list their products for free on Google. This makes what you offer more accessible to the hundreds of millions of people who shop on Google each day, connecting you to more customers,” she writes before listing several ways to connect your products to Google, including via platforms like Shopify or compatible point-of-sale systems. 

Check out Spalding’s complete post for more details on getting your products listed, as well as additional information on each point above. 

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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