It’s the most wonderful time of the year…it is also the busiest time for a lot of businesses and demands from customers are higher than ever! Everyone has strict deadlines to meet, delivery companies are working around the clock, but with the same amount of staff to hand; keeping on top of it all can deem a bit of a challenge. So how can your business survive this Christmas?
Now there are no set rules when it comes to managing over Christmas but I have put together some tips that just help you this year…or may be next.
The most important thing when it comes to Christmas is to be prepared. You can never plan too early, so as soon as you have the time get started on the preparations and write a list to keep track on what you have to get through for the festive season.
Keeping track of last years data is invaluable to any business as this should give you a heads up of what to expect – what orders were popular, how many deliveries did you make, what marketing strategies worked the best, and wasn’t so popular and didn’t fly off the shelves. Once you have this vital information you can make sure you’re stocked up with the perfect goods, your marketing team are creating fabulous content and you hire extra staff if last year you just didn’t have enough hands to cope with the demands.
Always have a look at what your competitors are doing. What products are they promoting at Christmas, what displays do they have in their windows, and do they run offers over Christmas which your customers may not be able to resist? Keeping on top of this may avoid you in losing valuable customers.
Make a list of things to do, and make sure you check it twice.
Amongst the busy period, it is important not to forget your customers who are actually placing orders. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for a delivery that it expected and it not arriving, or not receiving an update as to where it is. As long as you inform your customers of longer delivery times, they will expect it and be more patient with you.
If you are running promotional offers, scream and shout about it so your customers are aware. If you’re not telling them whether its by email, promotional window stickers or mailouts, then how are they supposed to know?
If you have an e-commerce site and sell things online then having a reminder when people abandon their shopping cart can increase your sales. How many times have you gone to order something and got side tracked and then forgotten about it? This then gives your competitors time to sway your customers decision with a more enticing offer – so get in their first and set up Google Retargeting or an email reminder in case they need that extra nudge. This could prove to be a very effective strategy.
Make the most of the extra business and try to upsell as much as you can. Perhaps if your customer has placed something in their basket you can advise something to add with it that goes in line with what they are ordering. For example, if they are buying a dress from you, add some suggestions of shoes or bags with it as an upsell.
54% of shops having implemented automatic product recommendations have been able to increase the average value of the shopping basket.
Once Christmas is over, the fun doesn’t stop I’m afraid. Christmas Returns can be hectic from Boxing Day so make sure you are prepared to handle this. Think about the easiest way you can make this happen for your customers and if your business is closed over Christmas do you need to consider getting some skeleton staff in to focus on the returns?
For customers, the easiest way is sending the goods back in a package and enclosing a written cancellation but make sure your return policy is clear so they know how long they have to return their items.
So there we have it, some things to think about this Christmas to be prepared and ahead of the game before the mad rush! Above all though, embrace the busy time; as long as you are prepared your business will continue to run smoothly.
Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!