For many SMEs, Christmas is the one of most important times of the year. A vast proportion of businesses rely on the festive period for a significant quotient of their revenue, and it is vital to make the most of it.
Many of us don’t particularly want to think about Christmas too early, but if you want this trading period to be a success it is vital start planning now.
Develop a strategy
To begin with, you should make sure that you have a comprehensive strategy to help you deal with the Christmas rush. Consider the resource demands and make sure that you have everything you need to help you cope. Look back over previous figures to help with your expectations.
Promote the Yuletide spirit
Applying a seasonal theme to your website or putting up decorations in your store tells customers you are ready for the festive season and all that it brings. Think about giving away small ‘gift with purchase’ treats to customers, or ask staff to wear Santa hats.
Write a festive newsletter
An inexpensive way to get in touch with your past customers andkeep your present clients up to date with your Christmas campaign, remind them of your seasonal opening hours and include any offers that you are promoting.
A Christmas themed blog post
This is a great way to engage with your customers, as well as outlining your Christmas offers, write about festive ideas or maybe just talk about your business at Christmas time.
Use social media
During Christmas time this can produce great results. Twitter is an easy way to keep your customers up-to-date on your latest offers, you could use Facebook to get the word out about a promotion that you might have in the run up to Christmas. You can use Instagram to post pictures of Christmas present ideas, and with Pinterest you can make specific boards and pin products from your business.
Sort out staffing
Make sure your staff know how to handle the seasonal rush, and go over customer service techniques. If you have a small workforce, consider hiring temporary staff to help get you through the season. It is a good idea to have a plan for the holiday period when most of the workforce are away, such as having a trusted team member come in and monitor emails and telephone messages.
If you don’t trade online
Opening hours are also an essential part of any successful sales strategy. It may not be just extending trading hours at the end of the day, consider opening early too. When are your customers most likely to shop? Be aware that the adjusted hours may require additional staff.
Make sure your website is in top working order and take time to make sure everything is running correctly. Is all the information up to date? Are seasonal business hours listed? Is customer support ready for extra requests? Allow customers to see your products quickly and clearly, showing how to order right away, and highlight the shipping deadlines.
Sending Christmas cards to customers is a great low-cost strategy to promote your business. You can send paper cards or e-cards with a seasonal greeting and even a photograph of the team. Look after your best clients by sending them festive treats, such as their favourite tipple or tins of sweets.
Make a note of successes and failures and apply them next year!