Business Ideas for Christmas: Capitalising on the Festive Season Industry News 22nd September 2015 | By Liberty With less than 100 days to go until Christmas, it’s time you thought about how to prepare your business for the festive season. What can you do to capitalise on the busiest shopping holiday of the year? Take a look at our tips to find out. When Should You Start Planning? The earlier, the better: There’s no time like the present, so step to the fore and plan as much as you possibly can. With Christmas being such a busy time of year, there is always an abundance of things that need doing. However, it’s down to you to decide what takes priority with the available work force and restricted time. Whilst most people are hoping for sun in September, businesses have their sights set on bigger things: Christmas. It’s at this time of year that marketers start to roll out festive campaigns. Why? Customers start shopping for Christmas as early as September; therefore the sooner the marketing begins, the better it is for your business. By starting your campaign early, you’ll have longer to achieve the results you desire. It also enables you to spread your costs out rather than having to pay a lump sum which your business will feel during this holiday period. Prepare for Black Friday According to IMRG, consumers spent £810 million online on Black Friday last year and research carried out by Royal Mail has found that 60% of consumers are already preparing to shop online for this year’s Black Friday. So, use this knowledge to your advantage and benefit from the biggest shopping day of the year. Your business will need to excel in the following areas in order to survive Black Friday: • Increased website traffic • Managing stock • Delivering orders efficiently and on time • Distributing orders from your warehouse How Can You Set Your Business Apart From Others at Christmas? Plenty of businesses out there will do what you do, so it’s important to focus on setting yours apart from the competition. If you adopt the following procedures, your business will thrive during the demanding Christmas period. Write a Festive Promotional Newsletter Make this a must-do. Why? It’s important to keep your customers in the know regarding any offers that you are promoting over Christmas. This is the perfect way to reach out to a wide audience without investing too much money. And not only should the newsletter feature deals and keep your business’ products and services front-of-mind, it needs to look aesthetically pleasing too. A well-designed newsletter is sure to point customers in your direction. It’s also worth asking your customers for their email addresses so that you can send e-newsletters. With shoppers broadening their search when browsing online, basket abandonment is expected as customers often forget to return to items. Email marketing is a way to follow up on these opportunities and give customers the opportunity to make the purchase they may have forgotten about. Ensure Your Website Can Cope… According to a study conducted by PayPal, 88% of shoppers in Britain make Christmas purchases online. Therefore, it’s essential that your website can deal with the rise in traffic which is inevitable over Christmas. Be sure to work with a web development team to test your site’s infrastructure to ensure it is able to cope with an influx in visitors. It’s essential that the ordering process is straightforward; a poorly designed website will send customers elsewhere. … And Give it Festive Cheer It’s all very well having a website that is able to cope at Christmas. However, it needs to attract customers in the first place. In the run up to Christmas give your website a festive makeover, be it a Christmassy background or icon (such as the navigation), to make the most of the season. Include details of your Christmas delivery and returns policy as well as any upcoming offers on your website. With the majority of customers browsing online before making a purchase, an aesthetically looking site is imperative. Employ Flexible Staff Staff shortages are bad news for a business over the Christmas period so it’s vital that you have a flexible team who can meet peaks and troughs of work demand. Employing temporary staff for the festive season can do wonders for your business as you’re not committed to a permanent salaried employee, yet customer service isn’t compromised. However, whilst these staff members are temporary, it is important that they understand your business as well as the products or services that you offer. From a customer’s point of view, there is nothing worse than a member of staff who can’t help you, particularly during the busy festive season. These essential business tips for Christmas will hugely impact your brand for the better. Whilst the festive period can be a hectic time of year, it’s also one of the biggest opportunities for business growth. So, make sure you are prepared and make the most out of it.