As the Christmas sales season comes to a close, next December is probably the furthest thing from your mind. You deserve a break to celebrate the hard work you’ve put into your retail business. But you might want to think about next Christmas sooner rather than later!

It’s not too early for small retailers to get ready for Christmas. With many big companies now starting their holiday pushes in October, small businesses may need to adapt to keep up. Thankfully, planning now could help you hit the ground running when it’s time to launch your silly season sales event.

Here are six tips to help get your retail store ready for next Christmas.

1. Review this year’s stats

How your retail shop does this year can help you plan for the next holiday season. After the last gift is purchased, pull together your sales and revenue figures. These numbers may signal areas of success—like best-selling items—and places where you could improve next year.

Also, think about the challenges you may have faced over the Christmas period:

  • Did you have enough staff to run your shop or keep up with orders?
  • Did you run out of popular items or essential supplies?
  • Did customers ask for products that you don’t currently sell?

Making a list of these and other issues could help you be better prepared for your next holiday season.

2. Set next year’s goals

Your sales and revenue figures can help you set business goals for next year. Based on how well your shop performed this year, you might decide to aim higher or expand your Christmas events. For example, if a discount created the best sales week of the entire year, you might decide to run it for a longer period, offer it to more customers, or try a similar “Christmas in July” promo.

Next year’s holiday goals can be about more than just the amount of money you bring in. You might decide that it’s time to sell your products at holiday markets, partner with another small business, or donate a portion of your next December’s sales to a local charity. Planning these goals now gives you plenty of time to figure out how to make them happen before the Christmas rush restarts.

3. Check your holiday decorations

Are your shop decorations looking a bit worse for wear? Now is a great time to repair or replace damaged baubles. If you’re only packing away ornaments that are in good shape, next year’s decorating will be a snap! Otherwise, you may be kicking yourself as you sift through boxes of broken baubles and wrecked wreaths at the last minute.

Planning your holiday decorations for next year also comes with a bonus: heavy discounts! Retailers often slash prices on decorations just before and after Christmas. You may be able to scoop up replacements or additional festive goods for your shop on clearance to use next December.

4. Plan products and packaging

Many small retailers offer special touches that help set them apart from the big box chains. Thinking about these unique value-adds now gives you time to plan, design and order them well in advance of Christmas.

Holiday-themed products are popular, such as festive scented candles or clothing with Christmas designs. Customers also appreciate packaging that makes gift wrapping simple. Offering custom gift boxes or wrapping paper with every order could add an extra wow factor to your products. You may also want to design a special gift voucher or paper carry bag for the Christmas season.

5. Start building your social media calendar

Holiday content is popular on most social media sites. To avoid hurried posts next Christmas, consider mapping out your content calendar now. Depending on what you sell, you may want to think about content around:

  • Holiday prep or entertaining
  • Black Friday
  • Small Business Saturday
  • Gift guides for different people
  • Last-minute gifts
  • Stocking stuffers
  • Treating yourself

It can be challenging to shoot the perfect picture, write killer copy, and choose the right hashtags for a post. Planning ahead allows you to take your time and get it right. That way, you can have a buffer of pre-planned posts ready to share before it gets too hectic.

6. Review your business insurance

Many retail businesses experience changes in how they operate during the Christmas season. You may keep more stock on hand, have more cash in your safe, and experience greater foot traffic in your shop. If you sell items online, Christmas might be the only time when you sell in person at fairs or markets. These scenarios and others may expose your retail business to more risk.

You may want to set aside time before the next holiday season to review your business insurance. It might make sense to increase the amount of coverage on some policies during the Christmas period. You might also identify risks that you aren’t covered for and seek policies that can help shield your retail business against them.

Want to learn more about insurance for retailers? Read about common types of cover that retailers consider to help them handle customer injuries, damaged stock, theft, and other common risks. And when you’re ready, compare insurance for retailers from some of Australia’s leading insurers online.

This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. 

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