It’s never too early for the C-word
We all know someone that won’t tolerate a mention of the c-word until late November. But business owners know better. It’s never too early to start talking about Christmas (there, we said it). Way back in 2011, shoppers waited until the first of December to start their Christmas spending. Fast forward to the present and statistics show that more than half of all Christmas spend happens in November. This is boosted by November’s annual Black Friday event which was the biggest UK shopping day of 2018. This year it’s on the 29th November 2019, followed by Cyber Monday just three days later on the 1st December. That means retailers need to prepare for the sales surge long before November.
Maximising your potential festive sales can be a big deal for your business. According to statista.com, UK Christmas spending has grown over the years from 7 billion in 2011, to 25 billion in 2016 with online shopping now accounting for the largest proportion of spending. So, what can you do to prepare to reap the rewards for the festive season 2019?
Have a strategy
Particularly valid for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, having a sales and marketing strategy is vital. The best way to start is to ask yourself (or your colleagues) lots of questions. How will you stand out? What are your competitors likely to do? What products do you need most of? What are your projected sales figures? What marketing techniques have worked in the past? Is it worth trying something new, like pay per click ads or social media campaigns?
Do the research for your market, base your strategy on evidence and plan campaigns well in advance. You might consider hiring a social media guru or a digital agency. Again, research and look for recommendations.
Offer something special
What could you offer at Christmas that you don’t normally offer? Hampers and gift sets containing collations of your best products, personalisation or gift wrapping are all popular at Christmas. Plan in plenty of time to create and photograph these new conceptions so they can dazzle in your e-shop and ensure you can deliver what your promise. Bear in mind that gift wrapping without the use of a dedicated order fulfilment team can be incredibly time consuming.
Customer’s expect your site to be transformed, much like a store window. So, invest time in some new designs to make your site glitter (perhaps literally). It’s also worth thinking about adding widgets like count down timers (to show the days, hours, minutes left in a sale or the deadline to get deliveries out on time for the big day) or sales banners or pop up messages to highlight special gift packages your customers won’t want to miss.
Don’t forget site accessibility on phones. Mobile ordering accounts for nearly 50% of all ecommerce spending. Make sure your site is mobile friendly and test out any new pages you create ahead of Christmas.
Being in-demand is amazing, but make sure your site can handle extra orders. The last thing you want is a site crash at a key time. If you’re unsure of how to prepare for this, consider hiring a technical web expert to ensure you’re ready for the best-case scenario.
Guarantee on-time deliveries
One of the reasons some shoppers don’t go online for their Christmas shopping is the fear that their goods won’t arrive in time. It is vital that you ensure you can get those orders out and keep all promises about guaranteed delivery times. Not only is it more important at Christmas time, since everyone wants their shopping for the same big day, it’s harder for businesses too. It’s hard to adjust for a big surge in sales. You could consider getting extra staff in, but must account for potential sickness, the availability of good people and training time.
Invest in your business
The best way to handle deliveries, big or small, is to use a third-party fulfilment house you can rely on, like JEM. We are set up to store large amounts of products and to handle extra sales. It’s all we focus on, so we can do it smoothly, leaving you to concentrate on your products and service. We can include hand written notes with each order, gift wrap and keep your customers happy with timely deliveries all year round, whether it’s a Christmas surge, special offer flood or summer holiday rush. If you’re considering using a new order fulfilment house, talk to the team at JEM to see what we can do for you.
Get in touch with JEM to see what we can do for you.