Christmas is a vital period for retailers, and it brings with it its own set of unique challenges.
While consumer spending reaches its highest levels during the festive season, retailers grapple for position in an increasingly competitive High Street and online field. So how can you make sure that your retail business is well placed for Christmas?
Work out how to stand out offline…
Competition on the High Street is particularly fierce during the Christmas period, and it is important that you take steps to stand out. First, think about your premises. Is it capturing the Christmas spirit? Many retailers have already begun decking their premises out with festive decorations, and you should do the same. Consider how you can ensure that your premises looks as appealing (and as Christmassy) as possible. This might involve decorating both the interior and the exterior of your property. Have a look around the area in which you are based, and think about ways in which you can decorate your property in a different manner to that of your competitors’.
It is just as important that your online presence gets its own festive injection. Christmas shopping is increasingly moving online, and if you are competing in this busy field it is important that you give yourself the very best chance. Consider adding some Christmas decoration to your website, and make sure that your most attractive items are given due prominence. Remember, though, that it is not all about your website. You also need to think about your other online presences, paying particular attention to social media. Consider changing profile and header images, adding a Christmas theme to each. You might also like to add a festive twist to your tweets, using key winter hashtags like #uksnow.
Given the viciousness of Christmas competition, you should think about running promotions in order to attract customers. Your strategy here will depend on business-specific factors like spread of products and markup. However, you might consider undercutting competitors on what you think are likely to be the most popular items in your field. You should also consider ways in which you can encourage repeat custom, bearing in mind that you are likely to see an increase in the number of first-time buyers coming to you over the festive season. Pay attention to store design, too. Make sure that you place anything that might constitute an impulse purchase near to the tills.
Look at staffing
Staffing is one of the key challenges facing any small business owner over the holiday period. Clearly, your staff are likely to want to take time off during December in addition to the Christmas holiday itself. This presents important considerations like rota management. In addition, though, you should remember that you are likely to be stretched even further by increased footfall. This may require you to take on more staff on a temporary basis. Consider getting in touch with temping agencies now if you believe you might need extra hands, as demand for short-term staff is high over Christmas.
Read more about negotiating Christmas holidays with employees.