Getting on the front foot at Christmas could make all the difference between a good and bad year for retailers.
Australian shoppers are expected to spend 46.7 million dollars this festive season, according to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan Research. Small businesses vying for a piece of the Christmas splurge need to get on the front foot with smart marketing strategies.
Promotions and sales, including free delivery and “buy one, get one free” deals, are common Christmas tactics, while others opt to tune into the theme with a “12 days of Christmas sale”.
Social media is a free and increasingly powerful way to lure customers. Online reviews influences 83 per cent of Christmas shopping lists, according to a recent survey of more than 21,000 social media uses by Social Media Link. Reviews on retailer websites, brand websites and Facebook were found to impact consumers’ choices more than reviews on other channels.
However you plan to capitalise on Christmas, the sure way to get it right is by offering exceptional customer service, says Amber Clohesy, founder of homeware brands The Woodsfolk and Down To The Woods.
Follow these tips for Christmas joy:
Pay attention to the details
Little extras such as samples and gift wrapping can not only boost Christmas sales, but drive customer loyalty.
“Put effort into the little details. Wrap store purchases nicely – people love thoughtfully packaged purchases,” Clohesy says.
“It makes them feel treated, and their recipient too.”
Pull out all stops, plan it and work on it to make it breathtaking.
Change it up
The appearance of your store – whether it’s solely online or a traditional shopfront – needs to change in the lead up to Christmas. Decorate, stock up and be ready for the Christmas rush, says Clohesy.
“It's important to take the store up a gear in the lead up to Christmas by filling with stock or changing up the general day-to-day appearance of the store,” she says.
“This is an important, subtle way of making the store feel special – especially for regulars. They will notice the change.”
For brick-and-mortar stores, a cleverly dressed front window can do amazing things for sales. And it need not be expensive, says Clohesy.
“Pull out all stops, plan it and work on it to make it breathtaking,” she says.
“This can be done on a small budget and Pinterest is a great source for inspiration.”
Kate Jones writes for the business and money sections of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. She also writes for The New Daily, TAC, RMIT and is a news writing tutor at Monash University.