How to put last minute plans in place to capitalise on Christmas retail trade

business coach clare wood

Wow, it’s December already! Where did the year go?! Many small businesses are wondering if they’ve left it too late when it comes to putting a Christmas plan in place. Well, the good news is that it’s not too late!  From my experience working in large retail businesses, the peak trade weeks are from 12th December onwards.


What’s the importance of the Christmas trading?

To get some context, the sales for major retailers through this Christmas period are up to 2 x to 3 x their normal weekly sales!  This is huge opportunity for small businesses, as most people are purchasing their Christmas presents at this time of year.  For those small retailers that haven’t got a Christmas action plan in place, the biggest weeks are yet to come.


What can I do at this late stage?

Discounts/ value add– If you regularly offer discounts in your business, now is the time to turn them on.  Alternatively, (my preference) is to value add rather than discount i.e. offer free shipping, free gift with purchase, free gift wrapping etc.

Gift wrapping and cards– People are super busy, particularly at this time of year!  If you can make it easy for them, it puts you a step ahead of the competition.  Gift wrapping and cards do NOT have to be branded (although ideal).  At this late stage, you can still purchase some beautiful generic off-the-shelf ribbon and tissue paper, or other “on-brand” wrapping.  Similarly with cards, you can purchase something off the shelf that is fairly neutral so you can offer cards with your gift wrapping as well.

Gift vouchers–  The opportunity for gift vouchers in Australia is huge.  According to a survey by Australian National Retailers Association, 20% of respondents indicated that the bulk of their Christmas spending would be on gift cards.  Create an electronic gift card and this functionality can be up and running fairly quickly.

Corporate gifting– From my experience, most businesses will be doing their client gifting in a frantic last minute rush.  So how do you go about it?  Firstly, identify your target market and which businesses may want to purchase your products as gifts for their clients.  Then contact companies directly.  Think about who the key decision makers are- usually receptionists or PAs are highly influential.  If you have any friends/ relatives/ business connections working in your sector, ask them to connect you.  Lastly, offer product samples as part of your sales conversation so people can see/ experience your product.

Blogging– Christmas is a great time to create really unique, value-add content.  You can partner with parallel businesses and share tailored content with your mutual audiences.  Topic examples “Top 10 Christmas gift ideas for vegans”, or “What to buy for the teen who has everything”.

Facebook– A great FREE way to create content for distribution is Facebook.  Video, especially live video, gets much better engagement than regular posts.

Instagram– Use Insta stories (maybe share some behind the scenes of you putting together gift bundles) and mix up hashtags to increase engagement


Now might also be the right time for your business to invest in some paid marketing.  Some examples:

SEM/ google ads– think about what your ideal clients are searching for and bid for those words (maybe even the names of your competitors!).  It’s surprising how many people still click on Google ads.

Facebook ads– Facebook offers an ability to specifically target your ideal audience and you can start with a very low investment.

Instagram ads– As one of the fastest growing social media platforms, Instagram ads are a great way to share your product with a highly engaged audience.  Like Facebook, these ads can be highly targeted.


Boxing day sales are even bigger than Christmas

 The magnitude of the week between Christmas and New Years cannot be underestimated.  If you were impressed by the opportunity in the weeks leading up to Christmas, each day of the Boxing Day sales can be up to 7 x greater than Christmas!!! (at a lower margin, but we can get into that). 

Boxing Day sales are a great opportunity to clear aged stock, remember, anything that isn’t moving is costing you money (particularly if you are in an industry like fashion).  

Use this period of time for your strongest discounts (or alternatively value add offers), and make sure you are heavily promoting during this key retail period.


So, while Christmas is fast approaching, it’s not too late for small business retailers to get your plans in place to cash in on the silly season!



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