Author & full credit: Sarah, Market Explorers
Known as the “Golden Quarter” amongst the retail sector, to be successful the planning period is getting earlier and earlier.
Yes, I know I’ve mentioned Christmas in August but for many small business owners, particularly retail independents this period is the make-or-break season and even more so this year. Getting your Marketing plan ready for peak now is even more important.
Known as the “Golden Quarter” amongst the retail sector, to be successful the planning period is getting earlier and earlier. Whilst ordering stock will most likely be in hand or underway, many small businesses still have not invested the time into planning how they are going to market their offering.
Having a beautiful collection of Christmas stock on the shelves is no good if no-one knows you or your brand.
Here are some tips to help you get your Marketing plan ready for peak
What are the predicted trends for our buying habits this Christmas?
With rising costs and inflation at the forefront of people's minds we’re likely to see more of the following behaviours over the last quarter.
Christmas shopping will start even earlier in October to help spread the cost
Consumers will be looking for a fun filled season, celebrating with loved ones but keeping a close eye on spending.
Gift Giving in person will return
You will hear a lot more about “affordable indulgences” especially around food.
Partywear and accessories will increase in sales as more events will be held compared to the “Covid Christmases”
There will be a shift to more practical gifts that can be used and ones that tap into pain points such as heated throws and blankets.
“Nights in” will continue – to save money, so in-home entertainment is likely to grow.
(Source Retail Week)
What does this mean for the small independents?
You need to be ready with your Marketing Plan by the end of September so you can begin to start your Christmas promotions early in October.
Identify who your ideal customer is and what are their pain points going to be this season.
Focus your Marketing on providing solutions to situations rather than just telling them about a product. How can you/your product help them?
For many e-commerce businesses your digital plan is the focus of your Marketing, don’t ignore the opportunity for offline promotions. Consider small pop-up options, use your existing customers to become advocates to spread the word.
Make sure you connect with your “best” customers – that doesn’t necessarily mean the biggest spenders, they maybe people who are your brand ambassadors. Word of mouth is huge from a trust point of view.
Think about your product range and pricing so you have a mix of options available for consumers and tap into the “affordable indulgences” “practical gifting” themes.
Talk regularly to your suppliers, particularly those supplying your best-selling products. If there is likely to be a supply chain issue, then being prepared with a back up or contingency offer is essential.
Be flexible and agile to take into account changing situations. Have a back up plan for your Marketing and create a “what if” scenario list so you don’t panic and can respond to the change.
Unfortunately, we may see a shift to more affordability rather than sustainability this year in gifting so consider your ranging options to offer “value” as well.
Look to bundle products together to increase the perceived value and push the consumer up the price points. Make sure you’re optimising your margin potential with these bundles, and you have plenty of stock if this is going to be one of your “hero” products for Christmas
Providing that point of differentiation
We all know how hard it is to compete against the big boys online and if consumers are shopping around for the best deal, you may not always be able to compete on price.
Look for ways that you can provide that extra special touch that will make you stand out and bring people back to you.
Focus on themes of “shop local” “support independents” “smallbizsaturday” – Use these in your Marketing blogs, and socials.
A special thank you card with a handwritten note, beautiful gift wrapping, great after sales service is a real differentiator and build loyalty.
Download our FREE GUIDE for tips to optimise your Marketing plan for Christmas
I’ve created a new FREE GUIDE giving lots of tips and ideas to help you get a structure in place to reduce overwhelm and to start to plan out your Marketing.
Here’s the link to my FREE DOWNLOAD with tips and ideas to consider as part of your planning for Christmas..
If you need more support to get your foundations in place and create your Marketing Plan, please get in touch with Sarah, firstname.lastname@example.org