Everything you need to know to prepare your shop for Christmas
Christmas is traditionally a time when people enjoy getting together with friends and family and taking a break! We also like to treat ourselves and make slightly unusual purchases for ourselves and our loved ones.
Your shop can take advantage of this profitable period and we’re here to explain how in this article :)
First of all, we’ll look at how you can get organised to cope with this pleasant but unusual time of year. We will then discuss the importance of communication and an ethical approach.
How can you get organised and what products should you offer?
What types of products should be showcased at the end of the year?
At the end of the year, in addition to their usual purchases, your customers are looking to treat themselves to something different.
This means providing a different product offering, both in terms of the type of products on sale and the way in which they are sold.
Many small businesses choose to create gift baskets or sets.
They provide your customers with several key benefits. Baskets or sets can:
- be created in a visually appealing way to ensure a gift which looks good,
- include products with a particular theme, thereby creating a gift which is tailored to a particular person. For example, you could create a gift set for “body care” or “fans of cooking”,
- include little extras, such as a pretty card listing the products or other festive elements, depending on how creative you feel!
How to decide how much stock to buy?
This question is crucial to avoid buying too much or too little!
To avoid any issues, here’s a series of questions to ask yourself:
- Can the products you plan to offer for the festive season be sold in your shop after this specific period? If so, feel free to order a little more, if your cash flow allows it. If not, beware of ending up with unsold products!
- Does your customer traffic tend to increase or decrease during the holiday season? If your shop has been trading for several years, base this on your analysis of previous years. If this is your first year in business, it’s best to find a balance between ambition and realism (to avoid unsold goods, which can be costly),
- Have you seen a general interest in a particular type of product this year? If so, can you offer this kind of product?
- Have your customers asked you about specific products in recent months, showing an interest in them?
In short, focus on consistent demand and your customers’ needs to offer the right products for Christmas :)
Organising your shop
Remember that everyone wants time off over Christmas, including your employees!
You therefore need to determine your staffing needs over the period and compare this with your employees’ requests for days off. If there’s a significant shortfall, I recommend trying to find solutions from November. If you want more advice, read all our tips on managing your team’s schedule!
The most common solution, which is an option if you have sufficient cash, is to hire 1 or 2 extra people for the fortnight over Christmas. Make sure that you hire these people several days before the big rush, so that you have time to train them. You can offer short-term contracts or contact a temporary employment agency.
Remember that you’ll probably want to take a break too. If you can, set aside a few evenings during the Christmas holidays and spend them with your family and friends.
Lastly, small business owners often take a few days off after the festive period!
You also need to think about specific decorations for your shop for Christmas. It can be fun to choose decorative accessories to display around your shop.
Why not create your own Christmas tree and decorate it as a team? This gives everyone a way to express their creativity and is a useful team-building activity in the run-up to the Christmas holidays.
When and how should you communicate about your products for the festive season?
We can’t say it often enough: communication is key to developing your business.
Traditional retailers tend to communicate their plans for the festive season earlier and earlier; some start in early November!
I suggest starting in mid-November, as follows:
- From mid-November to the beginning of December, tell your community and your customers about the products and activities you’re planning for the Christmas holidays.
- The first 20 days in December are crucial. A large proportion of gifts will be bought during this period, although it’s increasingly common for customers to make their decisions at the last minute. Ideally, over these first 20 days of December, try to post every day on social media and organise some sort of activity in your shop every few days.
- In the immediate run-up to Christmas: offer last-minute deals and emphasise that you still have gifts available: “It’s not too late to find your ideal gift!”
- After the Christmas holidays, market any unsold items as other types of gifts (for birthdays, for example) or create special offers to clear your stock.
Create Christmas-inspired visuals for your communication campaign. For example, with Canva, you can create free posts for social media and posters using festive images: Christmas trees, candles, Father Christmas, etc.
Your shop’s ethical approach
Sell more, without compromising your ethics
The main idea behind ethical sales is to sell what customers need and no more. This approach avoids creating dissatisfaction and treats customers with respect.
It also protects the planet by not encouraging over-consumption.
But your shop needs to make money!
The aim, in my opinion, is to find the right middle ground for you and your shop. You know your customers well: you’re the best person to differentiate between what will be perceived as hard selling and what can be considered as “consultative selling”.
You can also offer discounts (for the purchase of several gifts, for example), without going too far.
Provide a responsible product offering
By offering your customers products from Kami Store, you can position yourself as a responsible shop. Our products are:
- zero waste,
- organic, whenever possible.
But that’s not all. You can also go further by not encouraging over-consumption, as we’ve seen, and by limiting Christmas-related waste: for example, by not offering plastic packaging.
Here are a few ideas:
- collect cardboard boxes from your suppliers (as long as they’re clean!), decorate them in your shop’s colours and use them as packaging for gifts,
- contact another business in your town which has fabric scraps (such as a tailor’s workshop) and use these fabrics to make gift bags,
- use newspapers, magazines or old road maps to wrap your gifts: it’s an instant way to give your products a unique style!