Christmas can appear as early as July/August despite mumbled complaints from customers. But there is a valid reason for this; making Christmas stock available early allows customers to spread out their spend. This in turn, can keep your tills ringing for months instead of weeks.
Let's look at 10 things you can do to prepare for Christmas.
1. Deck the Halls
In the early months, you may start with a small section of your store, or even dedicated shelf space. Slowly introduce the festivities to your customers. Keep an eye on sales in these areas as this can indicate when you need to increase the range.
2. Get Festive with your emails
Send out a festive newsletter, offer an exclusive discount and update them on your new stock. This is one of the most cost effective ways to reach a wide audience.
3. Update your website
Your website can often be the first port of call for customers new and old. It is vital that you add important information such as Christmas opening hours and final shipping dates. You may also want to add festive graphics and add dedicated pages for Christmas ranges and gift ideas.
4. Be more "Social"
Post on your social networks frequently and consistently. Post photos of your store being decorated and new products available. Use Facebook Offers or Events to tie your campaign in with any offers you run in store and on your website.
5. Get Custom
Are there products that compliment each other? Why not offer them as a gift set and/or hamper? Make sure to aim at different budgets so the option is available to a wider audience.
6. Get Personal
Offer a gift wrapping service and/or a personalised message for gifts. Customers love the personalised touch and some will be thankful that they don't have to wrap the gift themselves! This can be done in store and for online sales.
7. Placement is Key
Ensure gift items are given a prime location in your store. Small "Stocking fillers" are placed near the till and in dump bins along your aisles to encourage customers to pick up at the last minute whilst they wait to be served.
8. Create an Event
Events can be run in store and online offering customers special discounts during the given time slot. Offering free gifts if they spend over a certain amount can increase your customer's spend.
9. Run a Competition
Competitions can be a great way to collate customer data and encourage more visitors to your website or social media pages. Try a prize draw and pick the winner at random, a photo competition or even guess how many sweets in a jar. Make sure to choose a prize that customers will want to win but won't cost you too much to lose.
10. Recruit Extra Staff
If you are expecting high traffic during the holiday season, it may be worth recruiting additional staff to reduce waiting time for the customers.