(image: Andrew Roberts UK under CC BY-SA 3.0)

Whether you are an eCommerce store or based bang in the centre of the high street, Christmas is usually the busiest time of year for retail. And with such huge takings on offer it is important to be well-prepared for the winter season. It may still be months away but it’s time to start thinking festive!

When to Start Preparing

You can never start planning too early. The sad reality is that as soon as the kids go back to school after the long summer holidays, people start thinking about to Halloween, Bonfire Night and, of course, Christmas. Many people will have already started their present shopping by the time October rolls around.

So with the customers being eager beavers, you better get planning; it’s time to develop a strategy. Get organised and plan out what you are going to do over Christmas and when. A great way of doing this is to look back at how the business was affected in past years. Learn from your experience.

Preparing for Demand and Supply

With everyone out shopping, and on the hunt for the perfect present, it is almost certain your sales will go up, but do you have enough stock to keep up with demand? Order in extra stock, as well as seasonal items, just in case.

Your regular bestsellers are likely to do well, so stock up on these. Think about what the latest and trendiest items in your sector are, stock up on these too!

Sales and Promotions

From Boxing Day, sales will be popping up everywhere. It’s all part of the annual hectic period of the January sales (that no longer start on January 1st). Although in the run up to Christmas you will be busy, it is important to prepare for the sales by marking up items with their new prices and sending out an email newsletter letting your customers know when it will be kicking off.

You could even start the sales and promotions early. With so many present hunters and shop sales out there, how do you make your business stand out? Well, by having a promotional offer of course. Undercutting your competition on your most popular items could ensure the most traffic to your shop. Other methods are to offer 3 for the price of 2 on gifts, or even giving out coupons for the New Year with every purchase.

The Power of a Good Display

When Christmas rears its head it’s time to get creative with your displays; think snowflakes, red velvet and plenty of glitter, to create a magical winter wonderland. An attractive shop or website can be inviting to a customer.

Make sure to display those bestsellers prominently, and place stocking fillers near to the pay point to encourage impulse buys.

Christmas and Your Website

More and more people are now opting to do their present shopping online, which is great news for eCommerce companies.

Like the high street stores, it is important to make sure the site is ready for the vast amount of customers. Get in contact with your hosting company to make sure your site can handle the increase in traffic – you wouldn’t want your website to go down at the busiest time of year, would you?

You should also think about your SEO and PPC campaigns. Search terms and therefore keywords are likely to change throughout the Christmas period and your site should adapt to this. Christmas themed landing pages, seasonal blog posts and a short-term pay per click advertising campaign are all great ideas to implement too.

So part 1 has seen 5 main points raised on how to prepare your business for Christmas, stay tuned for part 2 coming soon! And in the meantime, get planning for Christmas!