The festive season is coming, and as the colder months set in, businesses across the UK are gearing up for the big Christmas rush. But given we’ve all been living through unprecedented times, what does Christmas 2021 have in store for businesses, and how might we plan ahead? ‘Tis the season to think about these Christmas business promotion ideas.
Planning ahead for Christmas 2021
It’s fair to say that Christmas 2020 was one of the most challenging for businesses and the wider public. Lockdown restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic meant that pub and restaurant sales dropped by 72.6%, according to the Coffer Peach Business Tracker. Many hospitality businesses were financially impacted by the lack of in-person Christmas parties, family get-togethers and New Year’s Eve celebrations last year. But given that the UK has now carried out a widespread COVID vaccine rollout, and lockdown restrictions have been eased, is it time for your business to rustle together some Christmas marketing ideas?
How your business could beat the Christmas rush
The Christmas season might not be restful, but with the right preparation, there may be a number of opportunities for businesses to generate some revenue and festive cheer. Here are some ideas for how businesses can get ahead of the Christmas curve.
- Plan early. Even before pumpkin carving season, businesses can start thinking about their Christmas plans, recruitment and budget. The number of UK vacancies has topped more than one million for the first time, says the Office for National Statistics, and many firms – from food stores to restaurants and bars – are looking to take on temporary workers for Christmas shifts. Is it worth hiring early before the competition hots up? Additionally, there are some reports of Christmas supply chain challenges, given the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, not to mention post-Brexit changes to importing and exporting . So making sure you’ve placed your orders well in advance is perhaps a smart move this year.
- Freshen up your inventory. It’s always important to manage an inventory carefully, but this Christmas may require business owners to be even nimbler than usual in changing stock. According to this Bloomberg article , some exporters may have decided that “shipping big items and goods with lower value [doesn’t] make as much economic sense right now”. In order to reduce the risk of delays, should you consider reshuffling your inventory to focus on selling smaller items that may be subject to fewer delays?
- Market research. Trends come and go, but it may be worth thinking about whether your customers’ Christmas shopping habits have changed this year. Christmas 2021 promotion ideas could include eco-friendly gifts with sustainable packaging, or pandemic pick-me-ups like wellness hampers.
- Booking deposits. With all the pent-up demand for socialising this year, restaurants, bars and other hospitality venues might want to consider taking booking deposits to manage the flow of customers, maintain high standards of customer service, and retain a healthy cash flow in the event of no-shows.
- Be prepared. In uncertain times, it’s always a good idea to have a back-up plan. While we all hope that Christmas 2021 provides a smoother trading environment than last year, nothing is guaranteed. Is your business able to pivot to an e-commerce model at short notice, or could you fulfil deliveries by taking online or telephone orders?
Christmas ideas for small businesses
What are some of the creative ways your business can capture the Christmas mood? You could start by decking the halls with boughs of holly; in other words, give your website or shopfront a ‘Christmassy’ makeover. Just remember to take down any festive web design baubles in January.
At a time of increasing eco-awareness, you could also think about how you can sell Christmas products in an environmentally responsible way. According to GWP Group, around 125,000 tonnes of plastic food wrapping are discarded at Christmas. Is there an opportunity to stand out from the competition and sell recyclable wrapping paper, plastic-free decorations and locally sourced goods?
And of course, while getting your plans sorted for the Christmas rush might be sensible, it’s important not to forget about the January sales. The percentage of total retail sales spent online in January 2021 was 35.2% – the highest on record, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.
More from Tyl Talks
We’re counting down the days to Christmas, but our articles and guides offer plenty of useful advice for businesses all year round. Here are some of our latest blogs over at Tyl Talks.