How to cash in on the Christmas rush

Shoppers and diners are cashed up, but will they spend in your store this Christmas? Follow these holiday trading tips to make the most of the season's rewards.

Christmas is well and truly upon us. And while many people will leave their Christmas shopping until the last minute, rest assured everyone will be shopping as they get into the spirit of giving and buying presents for their loved ones.

So how can you make the most of the opportunities and have a prosperous Christmas season with a register full of sales? Whatever family business you are running, you can capitalise on the silly season. 

Tips for retailers

If you are in the retail business, such as food or variety stores, now is the time to bring in the seasonal items that people are looking for. This may seem like a no-brainer, and you have probably already done this, but it’s important to keep asking 'What can I do to make sure customers maximise the variety and amount of items they purchase when in my store?'

-- Think about special locations in your store that are destination areas

What are the staple items people buy in your store? Find some spare space to put a special display of your Christmas items where there's foot traffic.

-- Stock complementary items together on the display

That way when customers see one item, they will more than likely purchase the other as well.

-- Load items for sale

Do a pre-packaged bundle of several items together and offer it at a special price, clearly marking the savings of buying the items together. It is hard to resist saving money when Christmas spending is on!

-- People are time-poor so they always want gifts that are easy to select and give

Offer pre-packaged gift hampers at a range of price points with different gift options available. You could even offer to deliver for people by engaging with a courier company to support you. The easier you make it for the customer, the greater the chances of achieving a sale.

-- Arrange a special shopping night

If you have some loss-leading items this is a good way to use them. People will come to get a bargain and buy other items while there.

-- Offer a minimal cost gift-wrapping service

Alternatively you could dedicate an area for free gift-wrapping where customers can wrap presents themselves. Focusing on the customer will ensure they come back for the next gift purchase.

Tips for those in hospitality

If you are in the hospitality industry, now is the time to ensure every seat in your café or restaurant is full. Capitalise on the social nature of the season where colleagues, friends and relatives all want to catch up and enjoy each other’s company before the year is out.

Some of the things you can do to maximise sales are:

-- Send out an offer to your loyal customers and reward them

"A free bottle of wine to celebrate the season with every table for two or more people in December!" You can buy moderately priced wines in high volumes and easily cover the costs with people purchasing double or triple the amount in food. And they will likely buy more alcohol! This offer will help you attract patrons and ensure they come back to you versus going somewhere else.

-- Introduce special Christmas set menus at a great value price

A lot of establishments price gouge at this time of year, and everyone loves a bargain. Make sure you have an attractive price point.

-- Run a Christmas prize draw

Customers can fill out a form to win a great festive season prizes such as a dinner to the value of $250. As they leave their details, you can build a database of customers to send offers to in the New Year.

-- Have a loyalty offer like frequent Christmas miles

The more often customers frequent your establishment in December, the more they can qualify for a discount card for the New Year. All of a sudden you have a loyal repeat customer.

-- Bundle an offer to encourage people to spend more

One option is a free Christmas dessert when you have an entrée and main. People will then buy two courses where they may only have had one. The incentive of something for free helps people get over the guilt of having too much food. And after all, it is Christmas… calories don’t count!

May your register ring with sales this festive season. Happy holidays!

Caroline Ruddick is MYOB’s general manager of marketing.

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