How to prepare your retail business for Christmas shoppers

Christmas 2020 is shaping up to be one of the strangest in living memory, with the UK currently experiencing its second lockdown, with all restaurants, leisure facilities and non-essential shops closed.  Although this is due to end on 2nd December, leading members of the government have already hinted that the lockdown may be extended in certain areas if COVID-19 infections remain at a critical level.

The upshot of this is that shoppers can't rely on the high street for this year's Christmas shopping. Even if shops are allowed to reopen on 2nd December, this may well be too late for many Christmas shoppers.  There is also evidence that safety concerns will drive many people to shop online this year and a recent survey by Econsultancy supports that with 76% of shoppers saying this Christmas they were planning to shop online in order to avoid crowded shopping centres.

For many retailers, this Christmas is a final chance to make up some of the year's losses, but how can you prepare for Christmas when we don't know what Christmas will look like?  The key is to hedge your bets. Plan for a December reopening by coming up with safety measures and queue management strategies, but also prepare for a big shift to ecommerce by making sure that your internet presence is up to scratch. 

Let's take a closer look at how you can make the most of your Christmas selling:-

Make your store Covid-safe

Assuming you can reopen in December, you will have to pay particular attention to customer safety. Use the lockdown as an opportunity to reorganise queuing areas to maintain social distancing if necessary. You could also consider extending your December opening hours in order to space out customer numbers.

Reward your loyal customers

This has been a tough year for everyone, and Christmas is the perfect time to thank the customers who have stuck with you. Offering promotions and special offer bundles to your existing customers is a great way to show your appreciation. It's also the perfect excuse to give them a friendly reminder of the products you offer.

Redeem gift vouchers online and in-store

Christmas is peak season for gift vouchers, so it's important not to miss out on this extra business. Allowing your customers to redeem gift vouchers online as well as in-store will ensure that you don't lose the business of those who are unwilling to go out.

Offer Click and Collect

The pandemic is likely to put a stop to our culture of browsing. Customers in a post-COVID world will be eager to spend as little time as possible in shops, so you should try to accommodate this. Offering a Click and Collect service allows customers to use your retail shop without having to spend time searching the shelves for products.

Maximise your online presence

With so much competition online, you need to do everything you can to stand out. Make sure that all of your SEO is up to date, mentioning Christmas where appropriate. Post regular social media updates and monitor your social accounts so that you don't miss any customer queries or feedback.

Sell in other places

As well as selling in-store and through your ecommerce website, consider other channels such as eBay, Amazon and Facebook.  Many customers prefer to browse these marketplaces rather than visiting a specific company's website, so multichannel retailing can open up a whole new revenue stream.

Track your inventory

It's always important to keep track of your stock, but this year it is absolutely crucial.  With the pandemic creating so much potential for delays and disruption, you need to make sure that your stock levels are healthy at all times.

The all-in-one retail platform

ShopTill-e can help, with its all-in-one retail system you can you run and manage all your sales and inventory, both in-store and online, as well as offering crucial services like Click and Collect.

Everything is in one place and inventory is updated in real-time across all sales channels, ensuring you stay knowledgeable about what's selling and where.

ShopTill-e has been created to help small and medium-sized retailers run, manage and grow their retail business and has been able to help retailers be flexible and adapt to multi-channel selling with ease.

Try ShopTill-e free for 14 days or book a personalised demo .

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