Ho ho ho… Christmas is here… nearly. But what should be a time of fun for all, and seasons greetings, can sometimes turn into a nightmare of Ebenezer Scrooge proportions for retailers that aren’t well prepared for what’s to come.
So, what can retailers do to ensure everything runs as smoothly as a sleigh on snow and make this one a Christmas to remember – for all the right reasons… Jo’s top tips follow:
1. Keep an eye on your cashflow
Many retailers will have rent due on Christmas Day, so ensure you plan for this and have the cash ready and waiting in your account.
You may also have paid up-front for your seasonal stock, or you may be sitting on invoices – either way – cash will have left or will be leaving the business, so you need to ensure you have enough in the bank to meet your usual expenses plus…
If you’re expecting a bumper Christmas period, you’ll need to think about who will be manning the tills, keeping the shelves stacked, or if you are entirely or partially online, who will be getting those parcels out of the door in time. Don’t forget to budget for temporary staff, and, if relevant double-time for those last minute late shifts or bank holiday hours.
Plan ahead to ensure you have enough support, and don’t forget to put contingencies in place to ensure you’re covered for outbreaks of flu and lateness or absence due to bad weather.
3. Opening hours
Think about whether you’ll remain open over the Christmas period, or close until the new year. You know your customers better than anyone, so you should be able to gauge whether they’ll be queuing up on Boxing Day, or avoiding the shops until the new year in favour of a Homeland box-set, tin of Quality Street and a glass of Baileys.
4. Flog it!
It goes without saying that you will have invested heavily in stock in readiness for the festive season. Depending upon the nature of your retail business, this may be seasonal, perishable or simply this year’s ‘big thing’. Whatever it is, you’ll need to shift as much of it as possible before the doors close on Christmas Eve.
If you find you’re selling less than you’d expected, it’s worth thinking about some clever marketing initiatives to pull in those last minute Christmas shoppers – exclusive discounts, limited period sales, social media promotions or competitions can all help to promote sales.
5. Christmas-up your shop window
You don’t have to be Selfridges, John Lewis or Harvey Nichols to unveil a wonderful Christmas window, and nor do you have to have even trade from a physical shop. But regardless of where and how you trade, think about how you promote your goods and try to inject a little festive excitement into your window display or across your website. It could make the world of difference!
If you need advice on any retail or property matter, please contact our specialist retail partner Joanna Norris on 0161 464 9540, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.