Christmas is the busiest time for the year. With customers scrambling to buy presents and hosts rushing last-minute preparations, it can be tough on businesses to get every order done on-time.
A well-prepared business, though, can turn these pressures into profits. We’ve put together a list of tips, some trendy and some timeless, to prepare your business for the holiday rush and seize the season’s opportunities.
Expand Your Advent Calendar
They say that once Halloween’s over, you can start talking about Christmas. In practice, talk starts as early as September—and for businesses, it’s never too early.
Online marketing and sales have expanded the influence of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, making people start their holiday shopping much earlier these days. In turn, businesses have to be prepared much earlier, too.
Day-to-day buying schedules can change, too. Thanks to mobile catalogues and online stores, customers can do their browsing or purchasing at all times of the day. Take note of when your customers’ purchases peak and when they drop and plan your operations based on this.
Cyberdeck the Halls
New personal technology influences all aspects of a customer’s purchase, from choosing a product to paying for it. While your business doesn’t have to keep up with all the latest technological trends, you should at least be aware of them, how they might affect you and your competition, and have a deliberate strategy.
Standing out amid the holiday buzz should be among your top priorities. The month or so leading up to Christmas is a good time to take advantage of sales, promotions, and contests—but only if customers can find you.
Social media and email marketing are both persuasive, cost-effective ways to reach audiences. A distinctive social media campaign can be great for grabbing attention, while emails can directly alert your customers to sales or showcase samples from your catalogue.
Those opting for a more aggressive strategy might also turn to search or display advertising. This is a highly competitive time, of course, so it’s essential to go into it with a holiday pay-per-click ad strategy.
Technology can change your purchasing processes as well. Ecommerce is supported by a variety of general purpose platforms, including Facebook and WordPress, as well as specialized ones such as Magento. Alternatively, you could bridge the physical and digital by adopting a mobile POS system.
Running Your Workshop
Of course, underpinning all of this should be a solid overall strategy for the holidays. If your business strategies succeed, you’ll be seeing a huge increase in transactions leading up to the holidays and you’ll want to have the resources to deal with that.
The inventory and working capital required to meet an extended holiday rush, for instance, can be significant. Plan ahead to ensure your resources are up to the task. Look into funding options that can get you through a spike in activity without interrupting your business’s cash flow.
If you run a small or medium business—or if your seasonal hike in customers is especially high—you’re also likely to need some additional staff. Hiring and training can take time, so having a temp agency on call for situations like this is a strategically sound alternative.
And finally, make sure your business information is in order. Keeping track of your accounts and customer performance are critical not just for getting through the season, but for planning successful Christmas campaigns further down the line.