Christmas Ideas for Small Business

Define your strategy and set targets
This obviously depends on you business. What is the revenue you want to aim for? What are the costs to you to do that? There will be different things to think about depending on if you are selling products or services. Is it low value but high volume sales or the other way around? Broadly speaking, you will need to think about sales/revenue targets and what stock or employees are needed to achieve those targets. Also think about delivery to customer and an advertising budget. If you double sales during the lead up to Christmas – what will you need to have prepared and in place. What happens if it triples – or quadruples? There are actually two scenarios to think about here. Will you have enough stock (or employees to deliver services) if things go really well and what to do if you start to run out? But also, what happens if you end up not selling as much as you expected?

Put up the tinsel
Wether you have a shop, showroom or website – put the decorations up. Seems simple but a lot of people don’t do this but really should. Christmas is a special occasion where people spend a lot more money than usual on things they would normally never buy. They are doing this because Christmas is a special time and decorations emphasis that and make things more fun. At the end of the day – that’s what it’s all about. Having fun!

Start Christmas marketing early
Worries about inflation and the cost of living are going to be very important this Christmas. A lot of people are going to start purchasing early to avoid the normal Christmas prices surge and also the constantly increasing prices that have become the new norm.

Create an online catalogue with Christmas ideas or gift guides
Everybody hates thinking up ideas for Christmas presents. So come up with some ideas for your customers. Remember that services actually make great gifts and it’s puzzling that more service businesses don’t use gift cards more often. Hair dressing, photography, gardening and many services that don’t seem too “Christmassy” can make unusual, interesting and thoughtful presents. It’s the same with products that you might not think of as Christmas presents. One of the nicest presents I ever got was a gift card from a paint store (I’d unwisely been talking about painting my garden shed – couldn’t get out of it after that!)

Don’t forget social media
Use social media to publicise what you are doing but you might also consider setting up a popup “Christmas Store”. How you do this and publicise it (definitely consider using advertising on your chosen social media platform) depends on what you are selling. You may already be on a social media market place. Or it might be that you feel it’s not worth the extra time and resources. But as a special “one off” thing for something that is only once a year it might be worth experimenting with.

Customise your packaging
The one thing you know your customer is going to get is the packaging they receive the product in. Even if that product is a gift card. Use that leverage to advertise yourself, what you offer and what specials or discounts area available.

Make sure you deliver
There is nothing that will blacken your reputation faster than when things do not get delivered on time or incorrectly. Be very upfront abut what, where and when you deliver. Under promise and over perform. Because if you do it the other way around then Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all the other social media be full of posts about how horrible you are (which may well come up if people do a Google search for your business).

Make a Christmas video
Even if you have a bricks and mortar store, most people will find out about you or want to check you out, online. Video is by far the best way to engage your audience on a phone, social media or a website. It lets you deliver a message and be memorable. Expensive, professional videos have a place but any high end phone does acceptable video now and obviously amateur, home made videos are often much funnier, more endearing and memorable than a professional promo.

Encourage impulse buys and bundles
Buy one, get one free offer is a very standard thing with Christmas shopping (as an added bonus, it’s a great way to get rid of excess inventory too). Bundled purchases (three different scented soaps or four types of chocolates, for example) are great. But bundled buys where people can choose what to bundle are a great way to allow people to personalise their gifts and buy multiple things that suit their tastes. If you have an online store make sure you have the facility show customers “people who purchased this item – also purchased these items”. Make it worthwhile – “10% off above $100. 20% off above $500”.

Finding the best items to bundle for your Christmas campaign
If you will be using bundles, think about what people will want to buy. Don’t think about what you want to sell. Sometimes you will see a bundle of items that are so complimentary – there is no way you would not buy them. Try to work out what offer would be irresistible to your customers.

Pay attention to “it’s not Christmas for me”
There are plenty of people who do not celebrate Christmas. Either for cultural or personal reasons. To be honest, I don’t celebrate Christmas. But I do LOVE plum pudding. So I can be persuaded to make a purchase I normally wouldn’t. There may be ways your particular business can leverage the NOT celebrating Christmas market.

Sell the love, not the product
This seems a simple one but it often gets overlooked. You are rarely selling to the person who is getting the product or service. The whole point of giving a gift at Christmas time is to show your regard for someone special. Show the buyer how this will make life better, easier or just more fun for the people they care about. I would be much more likely to spend an extra $10 on Christmas short bread that is “utterly self indulgent, absurdly fattening but the best short bread you will ever have” because I want to spoil that special brother, mother or lover. If you are selling a practical gift, show and emphasis what it does and how useful it is.

Partner with another local business
If you sell tea – why not team up with someone who sells teapots? And then find someone who sells tea cosies as well? This value adds to your product for the customer but also raises the potential of all of you cross selling each others products.

Offer free shipping
I don’t really know why I put this one in. Unless you are selling something the size of a shipping container, you should not be charging for shipping. Full stop! People who have saved $100 on purchasing from you will abandon their shopping cart if they see “$1 shipping fee”. Factor shipping into the cost of the products.

Work with a charity
Even if you don’t like Christmas we should all encourage “peace and goodwill”. No matter where it comes from and even it it’s only for a short time. It’s good for you and for all of us, to think about those less fortunate and try to help just a little bit. Yes, businesses do use charities to look good (people do too) and that is a consideration. But (for what ever reason) why not do some good?

After Christmas
Don’t forget, people spend big on the after Christmas sales. It’s a great time for retailers to offload items that didn’t sell well or just capitalise on items they now know will sell well. It’s a good idea to plan on what you are going to sell and how and at what price, you are going to sell them long before Christmas is over. You may not have time beforehand.

If you would like some advice, please call us on 1300 268 800