Christmas is an important time for retailers. Many retail businesses rely heavily on the festive period to help them through the cold months of the New Year, and it is therefore vital that you make the most of the festive boom.
This year, though, trading conditions are tough – and retailers will be competing fiercely for every single pound. Here are some top tips to help you increase your slice of the pie.
1. Know when to compete on price
Despite the fact that the UK has now exited recession, people are still feeling the financial pinch. Thousands of shoppers will therefore be on the hunt for the best possible value this Christmas - and this means that many retailers can boost their sales simply by under-cutting their competitors.
If you do choose to compete on price, it is important to keep an eye on your bottom line. Think carefully about how much you can afford to shave off your profit margin.
2. Identify the top products
Every Christmas there are a few top products that get consumers excited. You should have ideally already identified the most important product in your market, and have stocked up accordingly.
Canny retailers will use these touchstone products as a way to entice shoppers into their premises. You should consider placing other high-markup items close to those products, in order to encourage valuable impulse purchases.
3. Make your premises irresistible
If you want to make the most of the Christmas rush, you need to get into the festive spirit. Competition on the High Street is fierce, and you need to make your premises as attractive as you possibly can.
At the very least, make sure that your window displays adopt a festive theme. More than that, though, you should have a look at what your neighbours are doing and then think about ways that you can improve on their efforts. The key is to stand out from the crowd – and to give shoppers a good reason to step into your shop.
4. Look at staffing and opening hours
If you are expecting an increase in footfall it is vital that you have the staff to cope with it. Shoppers will be unimpressed by slow customer service, and you will lose goodwill and transactions if you can’t deal with them efficiently. You should therefore consider taking on more staff in the run-up to Christmas.
It is also worth remembering that shopping patterns may change during this period. Customers often want to shop later, particularly during the last-minute rush, and you might consider temporarily changing your opening hours to accommodate this.
5. Think outside the four walls
Consider ways that you can break out of the constraints of your premises. While it is obviously important that your shop is well organised, you need to give shoppers a decent reason to enter in the first place. Leaving the premises and hitting the streets is a surefire way of achieving this.
You might consider something as simple as standing outside the door and handing out flyers with a special offer. Alternatively, why not offer a festive treat like mulled wine or a mince pie to entice customers in?
6. Boost your online marketing
An increasing number of customers are choosing to shop online, and this trend will continue this Christmas. You should therefore consider boosting your online marketing – and making sure that your website can cope with the increased demand.
If you have not already optimised your website to perform well for festive-themed search terms, you have probably missed your chance. But you can still use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to help ensure your site still appears at or near the top of the rankings. PPC is a simple and cost-effective way of driving more traffic during specific campaigns. Click here for more information on PPC marketing.
7. Learn from your mistakes
Finally, it is important to remember that a successful Christmas campaign is built on experience. Take some time to look back on last year’s performance. What worked well, and what could you have done better? By analysing your figures you can help to develop more effective techniques this time round.
Christmas is a vital period for every retailer. Make sure that you take the time to formulate an effective festive strategy to make the most of the spike in consumer spending.