Christmas is just around the corner and for business owners, the lead up to Christmas can be frantic. Most businesses shut the doors for at least part of the holiday season which means they go from ‘flying to frozen’ overnight. As such, you need to plan for the pre and post Christmas periods and we provide the following tips for the holiday season:
Most businesses will have a shut down period from as little as two days to as much as three or four weeks over the festive season. It is vital that you keep your customers and suppliers aware of your plans and ideally you should announce these dates as soon as practically possible.
Retailers can expect twenty to forty per cent of their annual sales to happen during November and December so it’s vital to stay in touch with your customers about your products and special promotions. Use email, Facebook and Twitter to communicate with last-minute shoppers that need inspiration. By asking a set of simple questions you can trigger personalised gift recommendations, make customers’ lives easier and encourage repeat business. Gift cards are also very popular during this period, so make sure your customers know you have them available.
Remember, customers also have busy schedules at holiday time so send friendly reminders about shipping deadlines so they know the last day they can purchase a gift to receive it in time for Christmas. Closer to the big day itself, consider sending a sincere season’s greetings email to your customers (without any sales material) to build genuine relationships with your customers. Add your closing dates to outgoing emails, post them on your website and adjust your opening hours on Google+ and Facebook.
Set Up Auto-Response Emails
During the Christmas break people will still try and contact you. Make sure you have set up your work email with information about what date you will be back and also how to contact you should something urgent arise. You probably get your work emails on your smart phone so you can still monitor any urgent matters.
It’s easy to get stressed during this chaotic period but it’s still important to remember that it is the festive season! Have fun in your office with your colleagues, reflect on what you've achieved in 2013 and plan your 2014 resolutions.
January – The Clean-Up
In January, continue to drive sales and clear any excess stock by promoting post-holiday sales, emailing gift card holders to remind them to use their cards and send personalised emails based on historical purchases. Don’t forget to remind customers about deadlines for returning and exchanging gifts.
Planning for the holiday season in your business could mean you finish the year on a high and get 2014 off to a flying start. Build a database of customers to contact and provide relevant and valuable information to develop customer loyalty and increase repeat business.
Click HERE to download the full edition of The Business Accelerator Magazine for December 2013.