Small Businesses Looking for Holiday Sales Help Through Technology

With the holiday shopping season nearly here, many small business owners are making the final preparations for the rush. For a large and growing percentage of entrepreneurs, that involves relying more heavily on consumers' eagerness to take advantage of the technological portals now available to them.

Today, 30 percent of small business owners say they're planning to run holiday sales through e-commerce, and slightly more than that expect that their sales through those portals will increase on an annual basis as more shoppers shift their preferences, according to a new survey from Ink by Chase. In addition, more than one in four say that they're going to increase mobile promotions during the holiday season, and about half of that number say they expect sales will go up in this regard as well.

Perhaps predictably, this shift may be more evident among younger small business owners, who largely say they are going to increase not only inventory, but their marketing and presence on social media sites as a means of grabbing more attention from potential customers, the report said. In all, 41 percent of entrepreneurs under the age of 44 years old say they'll use social network promotions, and 38 percent will use the newly popular "friends and family" discounts. That compares with just 24 and 18 percent, respectively, of owners over that 44 who will do the same.

In all, slightly more than one in three small business owners think their companies will do better during the holiday rush than they did last year, but 50 percent of those between 18 and 44 years old felt this way, indicating that those who are not taking full advantage of web, mobile or social channels may be in for a tougher season, the report said. Slightly more than half of owners who expect more success say that it will come as a result of their better marketing efforts.

It may be possible for owners to improve their companies' bottom lines in general, even without an influx of cash from holiday shoppers, by reducing their costs in other ways. For instance, taking the time to seek out more affordable small business insurance coverage may go a long way toward helping to shore up a budget. By trying to change policies, such as those for workers' compensation or general liability insurance, enterprises may be able to save thousands of dollars per year.