Whether you own a retail business or not, the holidays can be a great time to engage customers—existing and new—and increase your opportunity for sales. Many people are actively shopping for gifts this time of year, but they’re also on the lookout for things they may want or need for themselves.


We asked business owners how they plan to engage and increase sales this holiday season. Here’s how they responded:


Offering holiday-themed promotions

As the owner of a local plumbing company, I make it a point to express gratitude to my loyal customers during the holiday season and send personalized thank-you notes and emails. But I also offer special promotions tied to the holidays as a way to stay top of mind. For example, I’ve had success offering “12 Days of Deals” leading up to Christmas, where each day unveils a new discount or exclusive product.

Rich Mullins, owner, H2O Plumbing, Corydon, Indiana


Creating a catalog for corporate gifting

I’m the owner of a premium spice company. This year we created a special online corporate holiday gifting catalog as a way to engage our current customers and make it easy for them to give our spices as gifts to their business associates, valued clients, and partners. We hope to be top-of-mind when both individuals and companies are looking for gift ideas and assist them with curating the perfect gift with style and ease.

Debbie Kornberg, founder and CEO, SPICE + LEAF, San Diego


Hosting “pop-up” shops

As an online marketplace for sustainable and ethical fashion brands, we’ve found that providing something new to customers gets them excited to check it out. This holiday season, we plan to have a few unique pop-ups where our customers can shop in person with special deals and exclusive merchandise. Last holiday season, we had a pop-up shop that did very well for us—so we’re hoping for the same this year.

—Ellie Staver, founder and owner, EMLE, Wichita, Kansas


Creating unique holiday-season products

I own an e-commerce store that sells cat products. I don’t have the deep pockets that large companies have to drive traffic to their websites. But what I do have is creativity! I offer unique holiday-season products that I designed that cat guardians are actually searching for. My Gingerloaf House, for example, is a cardboard-box-based gingerbread house kit for cats, including cat-safe candy stickers for decorating. My cat Christmas stocking (filled with three adorable seasonal cat toys, which I also designed), is also a popular item that I sell. 

Diane LaFontaine, founder and owner, Cat in the Box, Worcester, Massachusetts


Offering a BOGO deal

As a skincare products store, we celebrate Small Business Saturday and Black Friday by giving our customers small gifts with their purchases. But we’ve also created a special “buy one, get one free” (BOGO) annual holiday event the week before Black Friday. It’s a big deal because it’s the only sale we offer all year. We extend our brick-and-mortar store hours, and it becomes a big party atmosphere all day. We also offer a 24-hour sale on our e-commerce site as well. To promote the event, I start sending emails two months beforehand and deliver seven emails in all leading up to it. This is a great chance to show our customers thank-you while increasing holiday sales.

—Roberta Perry, owner, ScrubzBody Skin Care Products, Farmingdale, New York 


Donating to a cause

Every year, to honor and say thank you to our most loyal clients, we donate to a global humanitarian organization on their behalf. We hand-pick which type of donation to make based on our relationship. For example, we had designed a national sales meeting for one client with a theme around grit and resilience. Around the holiday season, we then donated wheelchairs in this client’s name and included a note tying the resilience of the recipients to being able to move closer to living a better life. I should add that this charitable giving isn’t about promotion or trying to increase our sales; it’s more about saying thanks and living out our core values (character, love, fortitude, and ingenuity).

Doreen Linneman, founder and CEO, The Riverbend Group, Atlanta


How are you planning to engage customers and increase sales? Share your insights in the comments section below!

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