What should SMEs be doing in the run-up to Christmas?

The run-up to Christmas is a busy time of year for many SMEs, especially those who are selling products in huge demand. Here are some ideas to add to your ‘To Do’ list at this time of year to help your business make the most of the festive shopping period.

1. Think back to last Christmas

If this year isn’t your first year of trading, it’s a good idea to think back to last Christmas and analyse how your business performed. Think about which products were most in demand, those that didn’t sell as well as expected and if there were any trends in returns after Christmas.

If you sell products directly on your website look at which product pages were viewed the most and which items were top sellers during the festive period. You can use this data to help influence your buying decisions for this year, which products you can promote or even for ideas for some great promotions to help boost sales.

2. Get into the Christmas spirit

If you own a physical shop for your business, you’ll know how important it is to get people in the mood for festive shopping with some Christmas decorations. With this in mind think about:

  • Decorating your shop with lights and a Christmas tree, you could even wrap some boxes and place them under the tree to make shoppers think about gifts for under their own tree.
  • Make a tasteful playlist featuring festive songs to help create the right atmosphere.
  • Place some smaller gifts, ideal for stocking fillers by the till to encourage shoppers to impulse buy while waiting to pay.
  • Design a Christmas display for your window featuring your most popular products. Don’t forget to also share a picture on social media! For more inspiration take a look at the #christmaswindow on Instagram.

Alongside your store or if you run your business entirely online, giving your website a festive makeover can work wonders for getting people in the festive spirit. Even if you can add some Christmas-themed images, a simple overlay on your homepage or some tailored content to help shoppers choose perfect gifts it can all help to get visitors in the mood for buying.

3. Run some special offers

Saving money is always appreciated amidst the expenses of Christmas shopping and offers are a great way of helping your business stand out from the crowd. Give people a great reason to shop with you by offering some special Christmas offers, both online and in store. You could look at offering promotional discount codes for your online shop, or three-for-two deals in your store. Don’t forget to tell your customers about your offers through your website, social media channels and mailing list too.

Another idea to think about is offering customers a small free gift when they spend over a certain amount with you, as this can help to encourage a higher spend. This free gift can either be an extra present they get for free, or a treat for themselves.

4. Use social media to drum up interest

Social media can be a great tool to help drum up interest for your business in the lead up to Christmas. Think about offering exclusive discounts to your followers, valid on your e-shop, in your retail store or both. Just bear in mind, making your social channels too sales-focused can put people off, so remember to focus on posting fun or interesting content that people will share with their followers.

Some ideas for creating Christmas themed content could include a ‘advent calendar’, with an offer for each day of advent. These are often only valid for one day to encourage people to buy there and then. Many companies also run festive competitions, which can be very popular, whether that’s a daily giveaway on the 12 days of Christmas or a more traditional ‘retweet to win’ with a seasonal prize.

5. Run a Christmas event

Festive events can be very popular, so you could think about using this to your advantage to help boost your pre-Christmas sales. Christmas shopping events can be a great way to attract people to come and shop for gifts in your store.

Perhaps you could think about staying open later to attract shoppers who are only free after work, and entice people in store with a freebie, even if that’s minced pies, mulled wine or a free limited gift wrapping service. You could even offer an extra incentive for the first people to arrive such as a free goodie bag for the first 50 people. Don’t forget to use social media to help spread the word.

Competition for Christmas shoppers can be fierce, but being savvy and preparing for the festive period can really pay off for businesses of all sizes.

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