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Top 10 retail tips for preparing for Christmas

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Top 10 retail tips for preparing for Christmas

When it comes to Christmas, UK shoppers spend big on presents for their friends and family. According to a recent YouGov study, we spent almost £22.5 billion as a nation during last year’s festive period. It’s inevitable that sales will rise during this time, but there are things that you can do to maximise your profit potential and hold your own against your competition. More than a third of SME retailers rely on Christmas to boost full year results, so what can you do to prepare yourself and your business for the busy Christmas period?

Recruit extra staff

Christmas is an exceptionally busy time for retail businesses, so you may need a few extra hands on deck during this time. It’s very common for businesses to hire temporary staff over the Christmas period, so consider doing this in November at the latest, to ensure staff are fully trained by December. While it can be difficult to predict your footfall, for many business owners it will be reasonable to assume that you will need some extra help at Christmas, especially as it’s likely that current employees will want to take some time off over Christmas.

Top 10 retail tips for preparing for Christmas

Makeover your business...

During Christmas, it’s vital that your business stands out from the crowd. Now your Halloween displays have been taken down, it’s time to get festive! Display your best gift ideas in your window, along with any relevant cards or wrapping that may inspire customers to come inside. Alternatively, if you own a fashion retail business, ensure you display your best-sellers in the window, and keep in mind that people will be shopping for gifts, and for treats for themselves. Consider using window vinyls to display a message or special offers, and you can also decorate inside your store with Christmas trees, fairy lights, and baubles to get your customers into the Christmas spirit. You can even consider playing some Christmas music during December to turn the festive notch up a little.

Top 10 retail tips for preparing for Christmas

…and your website

Your physical business is not the only element of your business that needs sprucing up. If you have an online presence, you need to ensure that this is also properly prepared for the Christmas period. Consider adding festive graphics to your website, changing the colour scheme, or adding something fun like a Christmas hat to your logo. You might also need to add extra pages setting out gift ideas, or postage information. Be realistic about the final shipping date before Christmas, and ensure that packages are sent promptly. Again, this may require you to take on extra staff.

Offer custom gift ideas

One way to make your products more attractive as gifts to Christmas shoppers, is to make up gift sets or hampers, which include a selection of your products. You can wrap them up in clear wrap and ribbon, allowing customers the choice of giving a whole hamper or set as a gift, or they can be separated up into multiple gifts. Making a basket can cost very little and the goodies inside can be bought in bulk or made at home. You could also advertise custom hampers where customers can set a budget, and you can work with them to create the perfect gift.

Introduce festive marketing

Write a festive email newsletter to keep your customers up to date with any offers that you are promoting during the Christmas period. It is the best way to get hold of as many of your customers as possible without investing too much money. A great offer, presented within a good looking newsletter is sure to get people through your doors. This is simple to do, and can be designed yourself within the free email-marketing platform MailChimp.

Top 10 retail tips for preparing for Christmas

Offer gift wrapping

This may not be relevant or necessary for a number of retail businesses, but if you sell items that are likely to be given as gifts during the Christmas period, it’s something you could consider offering, either free of charge or for a small fee. It will make your customer’s lives so much easier and it will encourage them to visit you over your competition. Most people are willing to pay extra for that service to avoid the embarrassment of badly wrapped presents, or because they’re too busy.

Extend opening hours

It may be a good idea to extend your opening hours during the pre-Christmas rush. This doesn’t have to mean everyone working lots of overtime, but it’s important to consider your busiest periods. Make sure you advertise any changes that are made to your opening times via social media, on your website, and in any marketing material so your customers know in advance. You don't want to open later, and then have no customers as this is counterproductive!

Arrange a Christmas Event

Everyone is going to be on the lookout for a great deal this Christmas, so consider arranging a Christmas event, where you offer free gifts or special discounts. Offering a free gift when your customer spends over a certain transactional value in your store will have the power to increase your customers' average spend as many people will spend over the threshold to get a free gift.

Top 10 retail tips for preparing for Christmas

Plan the placement of your products carefully

Display any products that may be bought as gifts in prime positions on your shop floor. Additionally, ensure small “stocking filler” style gifts are located near your till point, to encourage customers to pick up last minute items while they wait, or when they’re paying. You'll notice that all those little extras really add up!

Invest in EPOS

New staff can be trained to use an Epos Now system in just 15 minutes so it's easy to use even with temporary Christmas staff. It also allows you to set permissions to prevent unauthorised discounts and refunds, reducing human error and theft, even during your busiest times. Epos Now will help to speed up transactions, cut queues, and keep an accurate track of sales and stock, giving you access to extensive reports. The system will also allow you to manage your own loyalty scheme, gift cards, and marketing database, all from one place.

Top 10 retail tips for preparing for Christmas

It’s important that you don’t leave your Christmas prep last minute. Taking early action will help you maximise the benefits of Christmas trade, and stand you in good stead for the new year. Additionally, EPOS will help you cut the queues, improve stock control, and reduce theft during the busy Christmas period.

Get your Epos Now system in time for Christmas by getting in touch on 0800 2 945 945 today.


Erin Heenan

Erin joined Epos Now in 2016 as an in-house content writer for the marketing department, making use of 10 years experience working in busy restaurants. An avid fan of shopping and eating out, she is committed to helping retail and hospitality SMEs get the most out of their businesses.

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