For many retailers, the Christmas period is the busiest and most profitable time of the year, but the annual holiday, while brimming of opportunity, also delivers a barrage of stress for shop owners. Preparing yourself for the Christmas season is essential, and we’d recommend you start taking steps right now if you want to maximise sales at, as the song goes, “the most wonderful time of the year”.
Every merchant knows that they can’t forgo the Christmas season without rolling out a special offer. If your business doesn’t pull something out the bag to attract the eye of customers (like everyone else around most definitely will be), you increase the chances that people will simply pass you by.
As far as preparing your store goes, take decisive action before the holiday rush begins. A well-planned strategy will also allow you to visualise your needs and be prepared long before people’s gift hunting begins. For example, what materials you will use most, do you need extra employees, and will stock levels and orders need to be adjusted?
To run out of stock of a key item during the Christmas period is a retailer’s worst nightmare, but you also don’t want to risk ordering too much and get stuck with unwanted stock. In order to prepare your stock, you should attempt to predict potential sale volume. Checking last year’s accounts can help you to get a good estimate.
If you think you might need extra employees during the festive season, hire them a few weeks before it begins in earnest. This way, you will have plenty of time to train temporary employees on best practices in-store, and therefore they will be in the best position possible to perform well for you, while also having time to settle in and feel like they are part of the team.
If there is one thing customers love besides an irresistible Christmas time offer or sale, it’s the impression that a store has put time and effort into conjuring up a feeling of true Christmas spirit instore. Think like a customer for a moment. Which store would you prefer to visit when every business is offering special seasonal sales: the one with beautiful and alluring Christmas decorations, or one that hasn’t bothered to make much of an effort at all?. Generating a genuine Christmas time atmosphere in your store will help to put your customers into a positive and joyful “Christmassy” mood, and it’s been proven that happy customers spend more. And to top it off, eye-catching decorations will attract the attention of passing traffic and increase your footfall.
Before deciding which products will go on sale during the festive season, there are a few things you should consider. At this time of the year, customers are looking to buy gifts, and many people actually prefer to search for gift ideas rather than going directly to a specific place to buy a particular product. Therefore, displays of specially curated gift bundles or gift suggestions can help to encourage browsing, while also easing decision making in order to increase your sales. Determine which products will be most popular as gifts, and try to create gift sets that include them, represented in special displays.
If you think offering discounts to repeat customers will increase your sales at Christmas, pull up last year’s records again, and see which products were most in demand. Featuring these products in a special sale at Christmas, and offering the discount to loyal customers, is another way of boosting revenue.