Posted on 12 December, 2018  |  4 mins

If you’re a retailer, this is likely to be your busiest time of year. So, we’ll get straight to the point.

Here are five quick ideas for giving your Christmas sales a last-minute boost—and bring in those shoppers who leave their present-buying just a little on the late side.

1. A last-minute social promotion to cause a commotion

37% of shoppers use social networks to find inspiration, making it the most influential medium for motivating purchasing decisions. 1

Retailers will be going hard posting on their various social media channels every day.

And why not? Regularly posting to your followers is a good way to stay at the forefront of people's minds.

But while people are in buying mode, why not be more direct by spending money on paid social media marketing and getting in front of even more eyeballs in the last weeks before Christmas?

The beauty of this is you can set it up in a short amount of time. Whereas promotions in the past would involve printing, publishing and distribution of various kinds, you can have something up on social in a matter of minutes.

So, look at what you want to promote. It could be a product you’re not selling enough of and need to explain a bit more, or one that’s selling well but you have plenty of in stock. You might want to tell people about extended opening hours, an in-store event you have going on or just trying to make them smile with something light-hearted.

Be aware, however, that discounting products could disgruntle customers who’ve already bought them at full price earlier (like a tax on the better prepared).

Whatever you choose to do, now’s the time to be bold and creative. So, fire up that Insta account, decide what budget you’re going to spend and start telling people what you have going on.

2. Get people in-store with some Christmas spirit

When ranked on customer experience, the UK’s big retail brands were found to be in a similar position to the United State’s large retailers five years ago, giving our smaller competitors a chance to own the shopping experience. 2

Anyone who’s watched the film Elf will tell you: “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear”. But if your voice is more Jim Carrey than Mariah Carey, there are other ways to get into the Xmas spirit, too.

Some complimentary Christmas drinks, free mince pies, more decorations, fancy dress among your staff, even dimming the lights to a warm yellow glow and, yes, having carols or even carollers—it all creates the Christmas feel that makes people want to get involved.

Remember, one of the reasons people go shopping in-store is for that personal touch. Many people want a shopping experience they can’t get online—particularly during the festive season when present shopping is part of the Christmas culture.

Provide a warm, festive, seasonal and personal experience in line with that (particularly one the big stores can’t offer) and you’re doing much more than selling products... you’re becoming a part of your customers’ Christmas.

3. Spread the Xmas cheer among staff

Only 47% of UK retail workers consider themselves engaged with their job, but they’re also some of the most loyal workers across any industry. 3

Of course, all the mince pies in the British Isles won’t provide Christmas cheer when your staff are burnt out and unable to add to the positive atmosphere.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. In the challenge to provide a better personal experience than your competitors, it’s your people who will be the most crucial part—speaking with, advising and guiding your customers to what they want.

So, take extra care during this busy seasonal period to keep your staff happy and motivated. Some research-proven ways to improve staff engagement include:

  • Acknowledging their good work
  • Being hands on in helping them solve problems
  • Allowing them to be themselves in their role

Double-down on creating a positive working environment and your customers are sure to notice—at Christmas more than ever.

4. Let people know what’s selling fast

More than 90% of shoppers admit to making impulse purchases on things they didn't initially intend to buy. 4

The 1996 Christmas comedy classic Jingle All the Way taught us some valuable lessons. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a surprisingly versatile actor, deer animatronics were not quite ready for the big screen back then, and leaving it too late to grab that season’s must-have Xmas present is a bad idea.

With any luck, products are flying off your shelves in real life, too. But give the Arnies in your life a chance by letting the world know when your products are moving quickly.

Direct emails are one great way of doing so. It’s just a friendly reminder to your shoppers so they don’t come into your store disappointed come the 24th when stock levels are running low.

If you’ve got an online store, maybe your busier Schwarzeneggers would prefer to shop this way and save the hassle, so give them links to your fast-selling products.

With business apps like Shopify, Vend and Mailchimp, you can also send automated abandoned cart/checkout emails, to bring people back and remind them of the purchases they almost made. Set these up now (it’s really simple) and you’ll likely see an added boost before Santa officially comes to town—and it’ll help you throughout the rest of the year, too.

5. Give a little

33% of consumers today choose to shop with businesses they believe are doing some kind of social good. 5

While we’ve frankly overplayed the film references already in this blog post, we’re going to quote one final Hollywood blockbuster—and it might be the best one yet.

As your favourite Jim Henson puppets sang in The Muppet Christmas Carol: “It is the season of the heart; a special time of caring”.

When temperatures reach freezing, we open our wallets to buy presents and spend time with our families in a warm house, it’s arguably the most important time to think about those less fortunate.

Your customers care about it, too, and are willing to spend money with a business that cares about passing some of it on to those most in need.

So, if you are going to support a charity this Christmas, let it be known, so your customers get that extra feeling of Xmas warmth as they fill their stockings this year.

Play to your strengths…

This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to do to increase Christmas sales, but we hope we’ve at least got the creative juices flowing. You have the best idea what could work in your business, with your staff and your customers, so play to your strengths.

Whether you’re a little behind on your business KPIs or are flying this festive season but are eager to squeeze as much out of the occasion as possible, now’s the time to do it.

If you want to measure the results of your efforts along the way, sign up to 9 Spokes and see key insights from your business apps in one place. And oh, it’s free—something even the most hard-hearted Scrooge couldn’t resist this Christmas.

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