Holidays are coming (can you see the Coca-Cola truck?) and it’s the busiest time of the year for businesses, so it’s not a season you want to miss out on. In fact, did you know, UK shoppers spend an average of £567 each on presents, totalling a whopping £19 billion over the festive season?
So, what can you do to ensure your business gets a slice of that mince pie? We’ve put together seven top tips on how you can get your business ready for a fruitful Christmas period.
The last thing you want to do is turn customers away because you’ve run out of stock - it’s every business’ worst nightmare. To make sure you don’t fall foul, plan ahead and make sure you’ve got plenty of supplies to see you through the season.
Check with your suppliers to see when their last delivery dates are to avoid being caught short and if this isn’t your first Christmas trading, take a look back over last year’s books to get an idea of how much you might need to be ordering.
If you’re worried about having too much, keep January sales in mind - they’re a great opportunity to shift leftover goods.
There’s no point having ample stock but not enough people to shift it. So, make sure you’ve got enough staff on hand to cover the busy period and go through your rotas with a fine-tooth comb.
Whether you need to bring in temporary staff to tide you over or offer extra shifts to existing employees, make sure everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet. The aim of the game is to give shoppers an unforgettable experience, so training your workforce and telling them exactly what you expect is a great idea.
Remember to make sure everyone’s clear on:
First impressions are key and a poor shop display could really impact on your sales. You want your business to be appealing, intriguing and inviting to get those customers through the door.
Competition between physical stores is especially rife at this time of year and consumers typically find the hustle and bustle stressful, meaning they’re likely to make snap decisions amidst it all.
So, what can you do?
Introduce some tasteful decorations, make your business visually appealing, and tie your display into the nature of your business wherever possible. If you’re a pet store, for example, could you fill a Christmas tree with adorable animal baubles? Or if you’re in the drinks market could you make a tree out of bottles? Anything novel and unique like this is likely to grab shoppers’ attention.
Don’t forget about lighting either, it can really create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, not to mention catch someone’s eye from a distance.
Tip: give you display direction by drawing a quick sketch of what you’re hoping to achieve before you get started.
The equipment you’ll need will largely depend on the nature of your business but whatever it is you’re after, make sure you’ve got it in time for the rush (bearing in mind supplier delivery times).
For example, if you’re a clothes retailer, do you have enough racks and rails? Will you need extra room to display goods over Christmas? What about sales rails come January? Give yourself enough time to answer all these sorts of questions before the mayhem begins.
And remember, your methods of accepting payments are more crucial than ever at this time of year. Christmas shoppers are flustered and convenience is key. They want to be able to pay and move on quickly so ensuring your equipment is up to date and ready to accept all payment types will ensure you don’t lose out to competitors who do.
Tip: research shows paying with cash is becoming less and less popular and card and contactless payments are on the up, growing in favour year on year. Make sure your business is ready to accept contactless card payments ahead of the Christmas rush.
A great way to entice consumers into your business is through offers and discounts, so decide which items you’re going to put on offer, when, and by how much you’re going to reduce the price ahead of the season.
Once you’ve got all this information there are a few things you need to do with it:
Consider organising a Christmas event to boost sales as well as customer loyalty. This one’s a great idea particularly if you’re a new business, but can be useful for established retailers too.
If you’re a homeware store it could be a one day Christmas event where all stock’s reduced by 10%, or if you’re a bar you might put on a ‘Christmas party’ with music and nibbles. Whatever the nature of your event, be sure to shout about it, drum up interest, and hopefully attract new customers.
Then, once people are through the door, you can also make them aware of all the unmissable deals you’ll be offering over Christmas. Chances are they’ll tell their friends and family what they’ve seen opening you up to a whole new potential customer base, too.
Make the most of social media to shout about how great your business is. There are loads of clever ways you could rally interest, like joining in the ‘elf on the shelf’ craze and posting images of your elf in different areas of your shop each day. Consumers might find it amusing, but if you place it tactically, you’ll also be highlighting your products and displays while you’re at it.
Another idea is to put on an advent calendar style event where you offer a small discount on a different item each day - if you’ve got an email subscription service, be sure to let your customers know what you’ll be offering early.
Whatever it is you decide to do over the Christmas period - whether it’s a one-day sales event, a spectacular display or a party - remember to make a big noise about it online and on the day, be sure to take lots of photos and videos of people enjoying themselves and post them online.
If your business needs help accepting payments over the festive season we’ve got you covered. We provide everything from portable and contactless card readers to EPOS till systems and countertop machines, so get in touch with our expert team on 0808 274 2017 today to see what we can do for you.