It’s the season to get cozy on the couch watching holiday movies, bake gingerbread, and shop for gifts for your family and friends. But since Christmas is one of the most important shopping seasons of the year,
Companies must be prepared to handle the influx of orders. Competition is even fiercer today, particularly as more people turn their side activities into small, lucrative online businesses. As a result, your store must be on top of its game to stand out from the crowd during the festive period.
A quarter of the British They start their Christmas shopping in August, but many leave it to the last minute, adding to demand and pressure on small businesses. This means that you need to be organized to manage orders and receive them on time. As the saying goes, don’t prepare, prepare to fail. But what exactly can you do to make sure you’re ready for the holiday season?
Create a plan
Before you start any Christmas preparations, you should create a plan before the big day to ensure that your online business is prepared for the peak season. Break up the months and identify what needs to be done and when, such as marketing campaigns, website changes, social media updates, and your packaging and stock orders.
Your plan should also include your budget, including expenses for employee gifts, bonuses, and Christmas parties. A good plan will cover week by week, detailing important dates like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and cut-off points for delivery. It can also be beneficial to plan beyond Christmas, to evaluate sales, tidy up, and get back to normal.
Refine your delivery service
The holiday season is a hectic time for delivery services and most have cutoff points. As such, it is important for your online business to refine your options. 63% of buyers They say speed of delivery is an important consideration when shopping online. Consumers expect speed and convenience, especially at Christmas, to make sure their gifts arrive on time.
Offering multiple options, including same-day or next-day delivery, can make your business more buyer-friendly and increase sales. Couriers like CitySprint offer tracking next day delivery service which ensures that your products are delivered at a specific time, which will be particularly attractive to those who place orders at the last minute.
In fact, 62% of shoppers buy gifts In the week before Christmas, proving how vital fast and reliable delivery is to your business. Every year, companies like Royal Mail are overwhelmed with deliveries, leading to longer wait times. So remember to consider shipping delays and how this could affect your operations.
Update your store
During the festive period, you want to attract as many customers as possible to your website and encourage them to buy. A great way to do this is by adding a bit of cheer and festive spirit to your site, just as you would decorate your physical store. For example, if you have a range of exclusive Christmas products, it is a good idea to implement a separate page in your navigation bar for these. You can design festive banners, interactive advent calendars or a Christmas themed logo too.
To drive conversions, optimize your content with relevant seasonal keywords and focus on SEO (search engine optimization) for increased online visibility. Also take a look at their website as a whole. Is it easy to navigate? Can users quickly understand the purchase process? While 20% of people are considered to abandon their shopping carts if they cannot pay with their preferred method, having multiple payment methods will attract more shoppers.
Last year’s competitor and data analysis
Take a look at last year’s holiday sales business data and identify which items were popular and which marketing campaigns were most effective. Focus on what worked well before and find out if the same strategy will work again. Did you promote your business in Instagram lead to increased sales? What is email marketing useful? You can also use your customer-based data to inform your latest strategy, such as sending targeted email campaigns and targeting specific demographics on social media.
Seeing what your competitors are doing is also a good option. Competition is fierce in the run-up to Christmas, and you may find that even your most loyal customers will jump ship if another company offers something better. What strategies are they implementing and do they work? These may influence your own efforts, or you may have a unique idea that sets you apart from the rest.
Hire seasonal seasonal staff
While your regular team is capable of managing the day-to-day activities of your business, the holiday season is much more demanding. Employees are likely to be under intense pressure to process and pack orders, work longer hours, or have to cover staff on annual leave. To minimize stress during the holiday season, hiring seasonal temporary workers can help improve productivity and sales.
Seasonal employees offer convenience and speed, allowing your business to keep up with demand. Although it costs to hire new staff, the benefits are greater. You can hire temporary workers faster than permanent workers, as there are often many students looking for a job to fill their time between studies. They are also much more flexible, which can help you manage workloads. However, you will need to be on top of management for things like payroll, insurance, and contracts to make sure you can quickly hire and onboard.