As a retailer or service-based business owner, you should always be thinking about how to capitalise on holiday spending. The opportunities to win more clients or customers in the run up to Christmas are more frequent and buyers are more likely to part with their cash, whilst already in the mood for shopping. If you don’t have a prominent presence during the holiday season, you are simply missing out whilst other businesses win the attention of your potential audience.
Many businesses find that their profits from the Winter season can help them build a secure foundation for their business for the coming year. The earlier you start planning, the better.
When do I start planning for Christmas retail sales?
Some companies start as early as the previous year. Pre-covid, many buyers for large retailers would be attending trade shows in January, in order to source products for the coming Christmas nearly 12 months later. This allows the company as a whole to prepare their sales proposition, marketing plan, distribution channels, printed collateral such as packaging and point of sale, and input the products on their EPOS system and website.
For smaller businesses, you may consider looking at your Christmas stock options in the Summer and placing your orders in August, to get ready for the start of the holiday shopping season in around October. This will allow you enough time to plan all of the above, whilst also getting your website updated if you haven’t already.
How important is it to have an eCommerce website for my business?
In today’s world, pandemic or no pandemic, it is vital to the success of your business that you have a website. This is purely for the reason that shopper attitudes and behaviours are changing, especially among younger audiences. People shop around, browse online, compare prices, enjoy the convenience of having a portable superstore in their pocket that can deliver to them anytime, anywhere. 40% of online shoppers are now mobile (and this figure continues to grow year on year)!
If you do not have an online presence, you are simply not visible and will therefore lose out on sales. In order to have a site ready for Christmas, you should be planning it as early as the start of the year, depending on how big you need the site to be. Your site needs to be your online shopfront and be an accurate and attractive representation of your business. You are opening a world of new opportunities for your business if you also choose to sell your products online. If you are not already doing so, you should be and it really doesn’t take much organisation to get your first online orders out the door. Explore delivery options and make sure you can cover the costs by either passing them onto the customer or absorbing in your margins.
Here are some interesting stats that will help you to realise the potential of your sales and marketing opportunities:
- 87% of shoppers check online reviews for all products and services. During the Autumn/Winter season, 49% of those people check reviews more often.
- Christmas themed emails sent 2 weeks before Christmas generally have higher average open rates. Though you should test what time of month and day work best for your business.
- 69% of people prefer gift cards. Make sure you have them available. Electronic gift certificates or vouchers can allow people to purchase them right up until Christmas.
- 85% of people claim to be more likely to buy a product if they are sent a discount code via email, and over 70% of those people claim that this can heavily influence their Christmas gift shopping decisions.
- 78% of people expect marketing emails and are 40 times more likely to buy as a result of receiving a personalised promotional email, than on social media or other forms of advertising. Make your content engaging to fit your audience.
- 87% of shoppers would rather take free delivery over fast delivery.
Christmas Marketing Opportunities 2021 – Dates for your diary
Start sourcing your holiday stock for the Autumn/Winter Season. Contact suppliers, get prices, create a collection that you know will be a winning combination amongst your customers. In the meantime, use the January sales season to get rid of any stock leftover from the previous Christmas period.
Start planning your sales and marketing strategy for the rest of the year, to work around your new product ranges and start making enquiries with web designers to ensure that your new or improved retail website design will be ready in time for the Christmas shopping season.
Your new website build is underway. You must place orders for your product ranges to get them delivered in time for Christmas. Plan your product photography for the website and you should also start to plan your in-store point of sale displays so that you can start to implement them in October.
You should also be planning your direct marketing strategy in the form of emails to your customer base and sending your products out to reviewers for their upcoming Christmas gift guides – remember that the UK Press work about 3 months in advance for publishing.
Get your products on the shelves in October. Launch your website and your marketing campaign, to give your customers plenty of inspiration for Christmas gifts and plenty of time to purchase them. Remember many people start early so make sure you are visible and accessible. Be prepared with a Black Friday deal for November. Sell, sell, sell! Offer a gift-wrapping or personal shopping service. Offer gift vouchers that look professional, to make sure that you are offering a flexible gift choice for the 72% more people that are searching for gift cards in the weeks before Christmas.
Let people know what the cut-off dates for delivery are to ensure they get their gifts on time. Plan for your January sales to take advantage of the post-Christmas slump, when people will be looking to treat themselves and spend their Christmas gift vouchers. You should be ready to send your marketing emails and social media posts as soon as boxing day, which can be created in advance and automated in order to reach your audience at the time when they are most likely to be online during the holidays.
How Blue Bee can help
If you have scrolled this far down the page and you are serious about planning your eCommerce and marketing strategies, whether it is last minute planning to help you make more profit in December 2020 or whether you are thinking ahead for next year, speak to the Blue Bee team.
Our web design and marketing experts can help you assess all areas of your business and create a successful proposition that will help your business grow. Visit our contact page or call us on 01722 775500.