Christmas is upon us and for many small businesses, especially in hospitality and retail, this is the busiest time of the year.
With many businesses being implicated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Christmas is the perfect time to thrive again and recover losses from a slow year.
How can you make sure your business is ready to take full advantage of the upcoming small business Christmas rush?
With the ability to make an income taken away from us for most of 2021, this will be a time you surely will not want to miss. We will explore the best possible ways to take full advantage of the lifted restrictions.
The ability to have customers browse store aisles, sit in a Café or restaurant and order one of their favourite meals is a part of life we have all missed. So make sure you’re ready for the Christmas rush!
1. Have your shelves stocked
We understand that the past year has been tricky for most small businesses and restocking could be a challenge. However, one essential component during the small business Christmas rush is to have products to sell. Of course, we cannot assume that our regular supply of products on our shelves will be enough to meet the demand of Christmas shoppers. You could look at having enough supply to sell more than your usual stock.
We know that some businesses experienced significant cash flow reductions over the COVID-19 lockdown period so we adjusted our loan structure to support small businesses. We have created a Kickstarter loan to help COVID-19 impacted businesses. When you apply we base your application on the earnings prior and post COVID-19 restrictions. Our aim is to help businesses beat the small business Christmas rush by enabling them to have the necessary stock available in store.
2. Ensure you have enough staff
Make sure to prepare your staff roster well before the season begins. Small business Christmas rush shopping will begin in early December, you can even start to see sales increase from late November. This will continue right up until Christmas Day with many stores remaining open until late in the evening the days leading up to the 25th!
You will need to have extra staff on the floor whether you are a Café or retailer. There is a strong chance that your business will need to hire extra staff specifically for the holiday period. Also, the Christmas period is a popular period for holidaying and with restrictions easing, the likelihood that some of your current staff will have planned holidays is highly likely. Creating a roster well in advance is necessary to make sure you are not short-staffed, even if you are just beginning to do a headcount on how many staff you will actually have available.
You could look at offering customers the ability to pre-book via your website using one of the many pre-booking services available. By anticipating the number of customers during your small business Christmas rush, you will be able to have enough staff available.
3. Get your marketing and advertising ready
The silly season is one of the most important times to advertise. As shoppers will be planning out their strategy to collect the gifts they need for loved ones, they will be browsing catalogs, looking out for poster signage, and paying attention to advertisements on social media and TV. If you’re planning on having Christmas specials or certain desirable items in stock it is best to make sure the world knows about it. A plumbing business could look at advertising a special promotion to make sure their customers’ loos are in tip-top shape ready for the family to visit.
Your customers will be looking for your opening hours online, so ensure you have updated Google with your latest opening hours.
Customers will also be looking for COVID-19 safe practices to make sure your business is compliant and they know they are safe choosing your business. Send out an email to your existing database letting them know your hours of operation as well as the measures you are putting into place to make sure they are safe. Some of the Christmas advertising to consider could include the following messages:
- How to book for services in advance
- The COVID-19 health and safety practices of your business
- Christmas promotions
- Update your website, Google and Facebook with your opening and closing hours
- Posting signs on your shop front window of your Christmas specials
- Update your social media posts and your Facebook page with regular posts
4. Decorate your store!
This may sound irrelevant but design your store or your catalog and even your website with a Christmas feel. This will entice customers to celebrate the small business Christmas rush with your business. Some tips to make your business look and feel like the holidays include:
- Displaying festive decor
- Hanging tinsels, bulbs, and fairy lights will help set the festive mood
- Play Christmas music to help set the scene
- Have candy canes, lollies, or other small favours to sweeten the customers’ experience
5. Invest in the right technology
Do you have the ability to accept online payments? Can customers pre-order via your website? If not this is a good time to invest in technology that can help drive success of the small business Christmas rush. Upgrading your point of sale (POS) system and having a faster sign in system in place such as a QR code will help make the customer experience better.
The festive season brings lots of customers, however it can also bring some opportunists, fast finger thieves. Investing in a good CCTV system will help keep your business, staff and stock safe.
Something a lot of businesses don’t prepare for is customers changing their minds about the goods they have purchased. You can prepare for this by creating a returns policy that encourages them to keep their money in your business. Some businesses do this by offering an extra credit such as an extra 5% if they choose to have a credit with your business rather than a refund. This will keep the cash in your business and encourage repeat purchases.
How a Lumi Loan can help?
Ensure you have enough funds to deal with the small business Christmas rush and set your business up for holiday success. A small business loan can be used to cover any of the following situations and more.
- Purchasing extra stock to sell for the small business Christmas rush
- Cashflow to cover the increase in staff wages during the holidays
- Upgrading your CCTV security and possibly hiring security
- Upgrading POS and sign in systems
- Covering the cost of Christmas advertising and marketing