No matter what your feelings on Christmas are, Christmas stock is appearing in the shops earlier each year. As soon as Halloween stock is out of the stores, you can guarantee to see the Christmas products.
Thinking from a consumers’ point of view, you’re probably thinking it’s too soon. As a small business owner however, it’s not too early. If Christmas hasn’t crossed your mind yet, you need to think about it – and quickly. Take full advantage of the most lucrative time of year for the majority of businesses.
Supply what your customers are demanding
Personally, you may loathe walking past Christmas products any time before December. Your customers probably don’t. Research conducted in 2017 by Statista shows that 23% of people start their Christmas shopping by the end of September (10% before July). Over half (53%) begin their festive purchases in October and November with a tiny 24% leaving it until December. This gives you a good idea of when you should be putting out your Christmas stock.
Get the essentials in early
Think about what you need for your business in general. Think packing materials, gift wrap and office supplies and get them in early. Don’t be caught out in the Christmas rush and lose precious pounds because of lack of organisation.
Think past, present and future
Your Christmas selling strategy should be a reflection of your figures from last year and what you hope to achieve. What sold well last year? What were you left with lots of because customers didn’t buy them? Which offers, sales and promotions were the most successful for your business? Look to replicate these and improve them to boost your sales. Maybe a particular bundle or package sold well last year, what can you add to it to make it more appealing to your customers?
Every good business person should look forward to boost sales, what trends are emerging? Are there any new products that you think your customers would love? Also, be aware of trends that are fading out to ensure you’re not buying stock that won’t sell.
Nobody at the inn?
If your business has a physical location, you must consider your opening hours around Christmas. If you’ve already tried extending your opening hours around Christmas, you’ve probably found it to be successful. If you haven’t tried it, we recommend doing so. Customers like to feel like you’re doing something extra for them, for their convenience. There’s people who do all of their Christmas shopping in the evening due to work and other commitments. Don’t miss out on them spending money in your store. Try and mirror your competitors opening hours and if you can, go further than they are. It’s vital that you advertise your extended opening hours. Do this in your store and through social media channels.
Did your staff cope with the Christmas rush last year? Were they able to cope or were they stretched too thinly? Think back and identify tasks that could have done with having an extra pair of hands. Whether it’s packing or shop floor roles, ensure you have enough bodies to manage.
Get your website Christmas ready
Whether you do it yourself or have somebody else, ensure that your website looks festive and can handle the increased traffic it will receive. We recommend:
- All stock is correct, search engines won’t list your products if they aren’t consistent and correct. If you list one hand cream as hand cream, list them all. Don’t list some as hand cream and some as hand lotion, this creates problems for search engines.
- All links are working properly
- Your payment portal and checkout works properly
- Have correct opening hours (update if extended for Christmas)
- Clear delivery times and last order dates
- Headline your Christmas promotions in a creative way
- Add some festive features to make your site look different for the period.
Deck the halls
Whether you love Christmas decorations or hate them, your store need them. Creating a festive mood within your store is likely to increase the likelihood of your customers spending money.
For decorations, think cosy and traditional. That way they’re likely to appeal to everybody. Ensure your premises are warm and well lit, this will encourage people to come in and spend longer.
If Christmas isn’t your thing, it needs to be your businesses thing. Even if you’re really pretending to live it, make sure that your business gets noticed this Christmas.
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