by Rosy Barraclough, Netmatter
Christmas is the busiest time of year for retailers and consumers across the UK. And that's is no surprise. From the brussel sprouts wrapped in bacon to the extra bottle of sherry for Grandma, Christmas is the time of year family and friends come together to drink, eat and be merry...with lots and lots of presents.
Last year, we as a nation spent almost £22.5 billion for Christmas. From decorations to extra woolly scarfs, the demand for presents and food stuffs is extortionate, and retailers should be taking full advantage. Whether you own a bricks and mortar store or are strictly ecommerce, this is your time to maximise on profits and move stock through an expanding customer base.
City AM have reported non-essential spending increases by a tenth to 6.6% in December from 5.8% in September. These figures are higher than at any point in 2014. As multichannel retail flourishes and our population grows, so do the product sales. With an increase across all channels up 43% toward the end of the year, all retailers need to be ready to make the most out of the seasonal excitement.
So how should you be preparing your business for the Christmas rush? We've listed some helpful tips and advice below to give you a jolly and successful Yuletide.
Recruit for your workshop
As we've already mentioned, Christmas is an extraordinarily busy time of year for any retail store. This means you need to make sure you have the right amount of staff on hand to help. It’s very common for retail businesses to offer temporary contracts from November through until January. As an example, 32,000 temporary jobs were created by Amazon and Royal mail for last year's Christmas season alone, all in anticipation for the demand. Whether you would like to give permanent employees some time off towards the end of the year, or just need more hands in the stock room, you’ll be grateful for all the extra pairs.
Write letters from Santa
Up to 43% of customers prefer to shop at retailers that connect on social media, and another 40% of users follow their favourite department stores online to keep up to date with news. Keep your customers informed about the promotions, offers and exciting times throughout Christmas on your social media channels. You should also look at email marketing or simply handing out flyers.
Most customers respond better to visual information rather than pure content. This is a chance to build relationships with new or existing customers. This can be through using tailored, personalised deals and offers ultimately creating noise around your brand. This will ultimately drive more traffic and recommendations to your store and website for the rest of the year.
Peace to all with Volo
On their busiest day last Christmas, over 4.1m orders were received by Amazon; the equivalent of 47 per second. Stores across the country experience a massive increase in demand over the festive period, so it’s essential to have an EPOS (Point of Sale) system working with your bricks and mortar. You should also have a website that can handle the visitor traffic. Help your business speed up transactions both on and offline, cut waiting times in store and keep incredibly accurate reports on stock and inventory flow throughout the entire business with Volo's ecommerce solutions. For your website, the Volo multi channel ecommerce platform becomes the backbone to your online store. It's designed to give you complete control, all while assisting in any of your operation from warehouse management to home delivery.
Decoration, decoration, decoration
It’s important to get into the spirit of the season. From Easter to Halloween, your store (whether online or on the high street) should reflect the time of year. 90% of British families have a Christmas tree in their home through December, so you should make sure that as well as adding in your own festive foliage. You have to play the Christmas hits where possible, add in a some fairy lights and throw up some tinsel for extra festive merit. Even your website should have a festive banner or pictures so your customer always feel like they're part of the magic.
Be sure to include more information about Christmas postage dates and final shipping for website visitors. Your customers will be more inclined to spend money with you if they feel secure in your processes. And of course part of all your Christmas cheer.
Would you like a wrap with that?
Why not offer a present wrapping service throughout the festive season? Of course, it may not be cost effective to offer it throughout the year, but Christmas is about giving, and most of what you sell to customers in retail will be as a gift to someone else.
Visitors to your bricks and mortar or website will love being able to have their gift wrapped beautifully for them after purchasing. Not only will it save them time and money, but if you do it well they will keep coming back for more great gifts and professional service throughout the season.