Sorry to mention the C word so early… but now is a key time for small, independent retailers getting set for the festive season.
Many retailers can make a large proportion of their annual revenue in a relatively short period at Christmas so it’s vital to be organised to ensure you can earn as much as possible. You’re probably preparing already – here are some of our tips to help you on your way.
Are you mobile-ready?
Figures released in August suggest that online sales via mobile devices could reach as high as 20% by Christmas, with site visits via mobile set to reach 30%. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you could lose potential sales over the Christmas period.
There are plenty of sites out there giving free advice on how to mobile optimise your site, but if you are not technical, why not get a freelancer to review your site and give you a quote for optimising it for mobile access?
Consumers are ready to reach into their pockets at Christmas but hundreds of retailers will be vying for their attention so you’ll need to make sure you have a strong marketing campaign.
Very soon you will need to have planned your marketing offers, creative, campaign messages, mailing dates, blog calendar, Facebook schedule etc., so that you are ready to push the button on your campaign as soon as the Christmas spending buzz hits.
There are some useful Christmas marketing tips aimed specifically at small retailers here.
One of the easiest ways to lose money and damage your retail brand over the Christmas period is to run out of stock, or be left with too much stock which must be sold at knock-down prices after Christmas. Your stock control procedures will be put under pressure over Christmas so now is a good time to start planning stock requirements and any additional storage space needed.
An electronic stock control system will help you manage stock levels and even prompt you to re-order when stock levels are running low. In addition, flexible pricing controls allow you to set prices and discounts easily by item, or offer deals to beat competitors’ prices – this flexibility will enable you to reduce prices quickly to move stock in the final run-up to Christmas or in the January sales period.
Do you have enough people to handle increased packaging and shipping requirements over Christmas? Make sure you get organised before the rush and hire the help you need soon.
Two-thirds of British retailers expect their overseas sales to increase in the next five years, according to a Retail Week report. If your products are suitable for selling internationally, why not make your site overseas-friendly so you can tap into that market this Christmas? You can do this by adding some multilingual capability to your website (which may not cost as much as you think) and by allowing multi-currency purchasing.
Using an accounting package that can handle multi-currency processing will save you a lot of time and hassle too.
What other essential tips can you share for smaller retailers getting ready for Christmas?