Closing Your Shop for the Holiday? Let Your Customers Know!

carrie rollwagen holding tiny american flags

Communicating about when your shop is closed goes a long way to establishing confidence with your customers. When customers go out of their way to come by your shop and you’re closed, it creates a sense of distrust and annoyance.

Clarifying your hours even helps if you’re going to be open for your regular hours during the holiday — your customers might assume that you’re closing and make other plans if they don’t know for sure that you’re open. (For a holiday weekend, you might want to post that you’re going to be open a few days early so they can make plans, especially if it’s a holiday where they might be getting together with friends or having family in town.)

There are a handful of places where we should communicate about odd hours, both those we can plan for — like holidays — and those we can’t — like emergency closings because of weather, power outage, etc. We usually remember the to put signs on our door, but it’s harder to remember to post to each social media channel, change our voicemail and email responses and to update our websites (posting to our blogs and/or updating ecommerce if a closing is going to impact shipping dates).

I’ve put together this printable checklist if you’d like a quick way to make sure you’re covered. (Maybe print a few and keep them at your POS so they’re easy to grab, especially for an unscheduled closing situation.)

Posting Holiday Closing Hours to Social Media

Posting to social media has a few quirks of its own — for one thing, you’re not in control of when people will see your message. For another, you normally need an image as well as text, and those can be tough to come up with.

Social media algorithms rarely show people posts on the day you create them, so saying things like “today” and “tomorrow” makes the customer confused. It’s hard to remember (for me, too — I’ve been known to make this mistake), but don’t use language like “we’re closing early today” without clearly including the days and dates as well. Here are a couple of ways to do it better?

Confusing: Happy July 4! We’re closing early today for the holiday! (Leaves you wondering what time, whether or not they’re open for normal hours the rest of the weekend, and whether or not the post refers to the day you’re seeing it.)

Good: Happy July 4! We’ll be closing early tomorrow (Friday, July 4) at 4:00 p.m. so our staff can enjoy the fireworks. We’ll see you Saturday morning when we open at 8:00 a.m. as usual!

Finding an Image for Your Alternate Hours or Holiday Closing Posts

Most forms of social media require some kind of graphic, and this gets us tripped up when we’re busy and can’t think of anything. Here’s how I’d think through a quick image for the July 4 holiday:

Find a Flag

Do you have a flag in your shop, or even in your neighborhood? If you’re part of a shoppable community, chances are good that someone in your area has a flag displayed. If this would make a good image, snap a photo. (Use a shop you’re friendly with, or a flag that’s put up by the city. Don’t use a competitor’s flag … use common sense here.)

You can use this same idea for any holiday that has a symbol that’s on display in your neighborhood (like Christmas trees) or for seasons (plants or trees with a seasonal look).

Take a Color-Themed Photo

If you have anything in your shop that’s red, white and blue, take a picture of that. When I owned Church Street Coffee & Books, we’d arrange a table with red, white and blue book covers, or take a picture of a drink with whipped cream and red sprinkles on top. (This plan works for any holiday with a color scheme — Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc.)

Use a Stock Image

I don’t love using stock images as a rule, but I think it’s better to post about your closed hours with stock imagery than to not post because you can’t find a photo. If the photo doesn’t fit your brand, you can always delete it when the holiday is over and your customers don’t need to know about your holiday hours anymore. My favorite source for stock images is Unsplash. It’s free to use, and you can almost always find what you’re looking for. (Search “fireworks” or “flag” to start.)

Create a Graphic in Photoshop (for experts) or Canva (for all of us)

Photos generally perform better than graphics on social, so use a picture if you can. If you’re rather post a graphic, taking some time to nail down a color palette and fonts that you stick with in all your graphics to give your brand consistency — otherwise, the image often reads as cheap and confusing to your clients.

If you’re lost when it comes to Photoshop, try using Canva — it’s designed for the non-design minded (like me) to be able to easily put together social graphics (and printed graphics, too). Once you have a few Canva layouts selected and know your colors and fonts, new graphics come together super easily. 

Download the Checklist

Do you like a checklist? Here’s a free download you can use whenever you’re coming up on a holiday to be sure you’ve done everything you need to.

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