SMBs Are Optimistic About the 2014 Holiday Season
Despite strong competition, the majority of SMBs are optimistic about the upcoming holiday season.
In fact, a recent study from Volusion reveals that 76 percent of smaller online merchants are “Somewhat Optimistic” to “Very Optimistic” that their business will generate more sales this holiday season than in 2013. The study also shed light on the biggest challenges merchants will face during the holidays, revealing that the top challenge is defining the best marketing mix to reach both new and existing customers. The second biggest challenge SMBs face is competing against large retailers like Amazon, followed by determining a pricing strategy that remains competitive but also protects profit margins.
Also worth noting is how SMBs prepare for the holidays, with the study revealing that 58 percent of respondents begin preparations before September and 31 percent begin in October. Moreover, 58 percent of merchants that indicated they were “Somewhat to Very Optimistic” about their holiday success also said they were “Somewhat to Very Prepared” for the 2014 holiday season.
“Small business owners have the right attitude to achieve record-breaking sales volumes during the 2014 holiday season,” said Clay Olivier, CEO, Volusion, Inc. “Based on their level of preparedness and an overall positive climate for the ecommerce industry, we expect to see high performance from our merchants and look forward to supporting their efforts all season long.”
Perhaps one of the most surprising insights from the study is the SMB outlook on Black Friday. The study reveals that just 37 percent of respondents indicate Black Friday as “Important” or “Very Important” in terms of impacting their overall selling season. This suggests that SMBs see the holiday season as a marathon rather than a sprint, leading them to focus on long-term strategies rather than major selling days. For example, 26 percent of the study’s respondents said they are focusing on streamlining the checkout process while 23 percent are putting an emphasis on offering shipping discounts to help customers complete their holiday purchases.