With Christmas just around the corner it’s time to take action.
The Christmas period is hugely important. Indeed, many retailers make the bulk of their profits during these crucial few weeks.
But if you are to make the most of the snowy season, you need to start planning now. Here are some top tips to help you boost sales.
1. Be prepared
Christmas is a make-or-break period for many retailers. You will only get the most from the festive period if you start thinking about it now – and if you recognise in advance that you will have to devote extra resources in the short-term in order to benefit in the longer term.
2. Ramp up your marketing
It’s vital to get your business as visible and attractive as possible, so think about ways that you can efficiently boost your marketing in the run-up to Christmas. Cast an eye over our dedicated marketing section for some tailored small business tips.
3. Give your premises a spruce
Your premises say a lot about your business. Make sure that they are in tiptop condition – and, come December, think about redecorating in a suitably festive manner.
4. Concentrate on the customer
Great customer service becomes even more important during the Christmas period. Shoppers need a reason to come back to you, rather than your competitor next door – and giving fantastic service is amongst the best ways to do this.
The festive season presents some important opportunities for cross-selling. There are many ‘easy wins’ to be had here. For example, consider putting wrapping paper and greeting cards by the till in order to encourage impulse sales.
6. Run an event
Evening shopping events are becoming increasingly popular. Consider opening late once a week during the festive period. Maybe offer some wine and mince pies to encourage people through the door!
7. Build an intelligent layout
Think about the way your shop is laid out. Which products are customers most likely to visit you for specifically? Consider putting these further from the door, while putting ‘impulse’ items near the till and enticing products by the door.
‘Great customer service becomes even more important during the Christmas period. Shoppers need a reason to come back to you, rather than your competitor next door’
8. Underline your independence
Competing against the ‘big boys’ will be one of the major challenges this year. If you can’t compete on price, make sure that you highlight the fact that yours is an independent business. Many consumers are still keen to support independent retailers – so make sure they know.
9. Revisit your website
Online sales are still rising as a proportion of total sales. Have a look at your website and make sure it’s fighting fit. Is it usable? Are there any broken links? Does it provide all the relevant information in a simple, readable format? Do a quick online audit to get your site in the best shape possible.
10. Consider Google Adwords
Google Adwords can help you reach potential customers online. Consider increasing your bids on relevant keywords – and rewriting your ads to emphasise things like free delivery.
11. Think about SEO
Seasonal SEO can give your online business a big boost. Is there likely to be a change in the keywords used by your potential customers during the festive period? If so, your SEO practices should reflect this. Consider optimising your pages (or creating new pages) to boost your ranking in Google for those search terms.
12. Be flexible on delivery
Delivery is important during the run-up to Christmas. Are you offering as wide a range of delivery options as possible? Immediately before Christmas, can you offer next-day delivery to accommodate late buyers? Remember your obligations under the Consumer Contracts Regulations.
13. Think about returns
Similarly, remember that returns will increase after Christmas, and that prospective buyers will want to know that the recipient will be able to change items. Think about how you can make this as easy as possible – and make sure that this is explained to potential customers.
14. Train your staff
Finally, remember that your will be under extra pressure during the festive period. Consider running refresher training to ensure they are up to speed – and above all, make sure that they are aware of any new deals or offers you are running.