1. How can I achieve better sales results over Christmas?
2. What can I do to attract more customers?
3. What can I do to mitigate low footfall in January?
These questions, and more, plague small businesses when it comes to planning and attracting a greater influx of customers during the festive season. Christmas shopping is one of the biggest holidays with shoppers spending over £2 billion, with an average spend of £410 for men, and £373 for women. (Source: Christmas Statistics, Much Needed.)
Instead of stumbling blindly and relying on pure guesswork, it helps to take a step back and look at the customer lifecycle to pinpoint opportunities for growth.
By customer lifecycle, we mean the stages a customer goes through before, during and after they complete a transaction. In breaking down the customer journey, we can delve further into each individual stage, and build an insightful plan to not just attract seasonal customers but convert and—ideally—retain them.
Read our recommendations below for unique tips on how to capitalise on the Christmas rush.
First impressions count. You and your business have seven seconds to make an impression; it goes a long way, then, to pay attention to the appearance of your pub, bar, restaurant, or shop during this Christmas period. Some tactics business owners report using to entice customers into their store include visual tricks, gift offers, and notices that a sale is ending soon. (Source: Christmas Statistics, Much Needed.)
Therefore, make sure you also embrace the season with festive decoration that gives your business a cheery facelift. Enhance the entrance of your venue, pick a decorative theme, and create the right atmosphere. Why not even come up with a witty shop sign that grabs attention? Here are a few ideas:
Winter is not coming. It’s here.
Unlike Jon Snow, we know something.
Miracles don’t just happen on 34th street.
Try our special Christmas drinks menu to find out.
(Photo by Patrick Scheider on Unsplash - Example of a decorated venue: warm colouring, and festive lights draws the attention of customers.)
Themes & Events. Analyse what your average customer is like and creatively explore what themes will resonate and attract them to your store. Does your business mostly attract 24 to 35-year olds? Then why not stage a Home Alone Christmas movie night, or tailor a winter menu that is inspired by Game of Thrones, or even Harry Potter. Or, say your biggest demographic is aged 45-54? Start an old-fashioned Christmas Carol Karaoke, or a Christmas themed pub quiz with relevant pop culture for their age group.
Note: the trick is to create a theme or event that is tailored for your average customer, so they have a fun incentive to visit.
Google My Business Account. How you appear across all digital channels, and not just bricks & mortar, influences a customer’s decision. When potential customers search your business online, you want your business to appear in the search results—indeed, 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (Source: Marketing Statistics, Hubspot.)
Google My Business helps give your company greater visibility, by making sure your contact info, website url, business address, and trading hours are listed >> if you haven’t created an account, you can do so here. And, if you already have Google My Business, make sure you update your account and include seasonal business hours and openings (i.e., list if you’re open or closed on Christmas Day and/or Boxing Day). You can also create seasonal posts, so people who search your business can instantly receive updates >> find out how to create these posts here.
Communicate What is New. You’ve cultivated your business’s physical and digital appearance for the festive season, but all of this can fall flat if you have not planned Christmas specials or incentives for your customers. For example, if you run a restaurant, what’s new and Christmas-inspired on the menu? If you offer a service, what specials do you have to celebrate the joyous season?
Go to Market. Hit the streets running with your tailored Christmas menu and/or event and utilise all offline and online channels to spread the word: email, social media, text message, and direct mail. Why not engage in video marketing? While 20% of people will read the text on a page, 80% of people will watch a video. (Source: Marketing Statistics, Hubspot.)
Video marketing is known to increase engagement rates, helping raise brand awareness—it can be something simple such as a video highlighting your venue at busy hours, or samples of customers trialling your Christmas-inspired service with positive feedback.
It is all well and good to attract people into your store, restaurant or pub—but it is only half the journey. Now, it’s time to secure the transaction and convert your footfall into customers.
A Little Detail Goes a Long Way. It’s a special time—and so, customers want to feel special. Offer a free glass of champagne or delicious snack while customers are browsing your store or menu. Or, hand out Christmas greeting cards as soon as people walk through the door, which include special discount offers or a random Christmas quote. These gestures might not seem like much, but it will make you stand out, and reap the reward of a satisfied customer.
(Photo by VisionPic .net from Pexels - Bring the festive cheer to your customers and retain their interest in your business with free champagne or snacks.)
Cater for All. Whatever your business, make sure you are thinking outside the box to mitigate any possible reasons for your potential customers leaving the store.
Do you have enough vegan or vegetarian options on your menu? Invest in a diverse range of food options so you are not missing key customers. Does your average customer have children? Then invest in small activities for kids, whether it’s handing out candy (with the parents’ permission, of course), or setting-up a corner for Christmas kid activities so the parents can shop with a bit more ease.
Attentive Staff. Your staff represent your business, and how they interact with potential customers can make or break your business’s reputation.It’s not enough to just train your staff, you should go the extra mile to incentivise and reward them for good performance.
Companies using incentive and reward programs reported a 79% success rate in achieving their established sales goals. (Source: 16 Statistics that prove employee incentives are a must, DCR Strategies.) So, make sure you establish a staff incentive scheme, and don’t skimp—the rewards should be sizeable, or have some value attached to them, so your staff feel appreciated and recognised.
Be Ready for the Christmas Rush. Analyse last year’s Christmas sales to pinpoint the potential days or hoursthat your business is likely to see an increase in customers, so you are prepared with enough stock and staff on the floor to meet this demand. You do not want to run the risk of seeing customers walk out the door because you were not prepared to cater for them. Tip: a cost-effective way of finding seasonal staff is to post your job listings at the nearest schools or universities—students are likely to have previous hospitality or retail experience and are available throughout the holiday season.
With January, and an expected drop in sales, around the corner you should be implementing a strategy to retain your customers. But how do you secure their loyalty?
Data Capture. To heighten the festive spirit, offer promotional gifts or rewards in exchange for data capture. Think: Entering the chance to win a Christmas Hamper giveaway in exchange for capturing a customer’s contact details, or a free mulled wine or mince pie for signing up to the quarterly newsletter. You want to capture data now, while you are experiencing the Christmas rush, as you want the chance to retain these customers and remarket your business, particularly during January.
(Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels - Starting a promotional gift or reward in exchange for data capture is a way to retain customers and remarket your business.)
Continue successful events and/or themes. Did that Christmas-themed pub quiz or Carol Karaoke draw a lot of customers? Or was there a food or drink on the Christmas menu that was a success? Repurpose this event, or special service / menu outside of just the Christmas period, so your customers keep returning for more.
Remarketing. Set-up remarketing campaigns so customers are constantly in contact with your brand: you want to not only remarket to people who visited you in-store, but online as well. Did a few people open a promotional email about your Christmas event or special? Re-engage with this target audience by sending another email about a special message and/or sale just for them. If you send targeted emails, you are 75% more likely to receive clicks than non-targeted emails. (Source: Effects of List Segmentation on Email Marketing Stats, MailChimp.)
If a large volume of people visited your website, remarket to them via Google Ads >> see Google’s steps on how to remarket on Google Ads. Website visitors who are retargeted with a Google Ad are 70% more likely to convert. (Source: Ad Retargeting in Numbers – Statistics and Trends, Invesp.)
Tip: These people who have visited you in-store or online have already shown an interest in your brand or product—so, think of alternative and personal ways to entice them back to your business.
Make Sure You Are Prepared
We appreciate that Christmas can be a challenging time for businesses and hope that our recommendations come handy in making your company stand out.
As outlined in our blog, the Christmas costs can certainly add up: seasonal discounts, extra staff hire, and an increase in marketing activities to attract customers mean you need a strong financial backing.
Our merchant cash advances have helped thousands of businesses like yours with fast, flexible funding from £5,000 to £200,000, with no APR or late fees, you only repay when your customers pay you. Interested? Get a no-obligation business cash advance quote now.
We hope you have a successful, joyous season!