Did you notice businesses and neighbors putting out their Halloween decorations right after Labor Day? That’s just one of the signs that, after a challenging year, people are in the mood to start celebrating the holidays early. In fact, nineteen percent of Americans say they’re going to start their holiday shopping early this year.


2020’s festivities will be decidedly different from previous seasons, and businesses should start preparing now to capture shopping potential. Use these five ideas to get ready to serve early shoppers and ring in holiday sales.


  1. Start the cheer early

Tales of shortages and slowdowns are encouraging people to shop early, so begin now to make your business look appropriately festive. This effort will signal to shoppers that you’re ready to provide what they need for the holidays.


Your materials can have a seasonal spin in several ways:


  • Update people about your expanded holiday hours, how to order online to avoid the crowds or when big holiday promotions will begin. Freshen up your banners, window decals, A-frames, posters, car decals and other signage.
  • Give your sales flyers and menus a holiday refresh to highlight items only available for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, or other holiday orders.
  • If you have signage directing shoppers to follow a socially distanced traffic flow, update it with seasonal icons and images to add a festive flair.


  1. Plan your party now

While the rules on how and where people can gather vary, you may still want to find some way to congregate for a staff party or thank-you holiday celebration. Whether you’re throwing a safe in-person party or a virtual gathering, events in 2020 will have a few extra steps that make early planning a good idea.


Use these tips to prepare:


  • Book soon, since others looking for ways to gather will be snapping up reservations early at restaurants that can handle safe events and outdoor facilities that can accommodate parties.
  • If you’re planning an in-person gathering, think about party traffic flow. Tactics like inviting people at scheduled intervals or mapping out seating can help keep everyone safe.
  • Is the when and where of your event locked in? If so, create your invitations soon. Ordering early will give you plenty of time to tweak the design and get what you want.


  1. Get ready to give

Does your business typically share holiday gifts with customers, vendors or staff? If the answer is yes, think now about what you want to give to avoid a last-minute scramble.


These giving logistics can help:


  • Choose a gift that makes sense for people’s current locations. Many of your recipients will be receiving your gift at their house, so select something that’s appropriate or useful in a home office setting. A laptop bag might be cool, but since most folks aren’t traveling, a reusable water bottle or a throw blanket might get more use.
  • Place your order early, particularly if you plan to customize. This will guarantee that your items are ready in time to ship and increase your chances of snagging early-season special offers.
  • As with your invitations, make sure you know where to send your gifts. Confirm addresses and work out issues, such as getting street addresses for the P.O. Box addresses you have, since packages often cannot be delivered to them.


  1. Make a splash with your holiday card

If you’re forgoing traditional customer or client gifts this year, consider going bigger and bolder with your annual holiday card. Start now to develop the message you want to share, the design and other ways to wow.


Here are a few ways to make your card project run smoothly:


  • If you’ve previously created a card yourself, consider getting some design assistance. This will help you look more professional and showcase your season’s greetings in a more polished way.
  • Order early to take advantage of special offers on printing both the cards and envelopes. This ensures that you’ll get them back in time, so you can mail them early to avoid any postal delays.
  • Confirm or gather your recipients’ current addresses, since they may be working remotely. Keep this in mind when you create your design, so your card is one they’ll want to keep and display in their home.


  1. Prepare now for last-minute needs

The 2020 holiday season is fast approaching, and no holiday season is glitch free. Make plans now for last-minute or spur-of-the-moment demand for your seasonal events or sales.


Line up the services and support you need:


  • Timing is everything, and an opportunity to offer customers a last-minute deal or event can’t be missed. Same-day printing services can help you turn around your promotional materials quickly, so customers know what’s happening and can participate.
  • When you’re in the middle of your seasonal rush, you won’t have time to run out for supplies. Take time now to order what you’ll need.
  • Customers may be ready to start celebrating, but that doesn’t mean some of them won’t procrastinate when it comes to ordering items they need by a specific date. Look for expedited shipping services that allow you to get orders out seven days a week to meet your customers’ holiday needs.


Preparing now will help make the season more festive, and more successful for your business.