Think about customer expectations around flexible returns, shipping and delivery. What can you do in store to match the online shopping experience?
What if the recipient doesn’t like the gift? Can they exchange it? What if the gift is cumbersome to carry? Can you offer a pickup service or a drop off to their car or home address?
Empower your team
Like T2, Australian cosmetics brand Jurlique International knows the power of in-store teams.
“At Christmas, every operational element becomes a challenge,” Ann Donohue, General Manager Australia and New Zealand at Jurlique says.
“An underprepared team is probably the biggest hurdle.”
As much as it’s important to plan, don’t forget to train, train, train, Donohue says – particularly seasonal staff that may take longer to learn the ropes.
“If team members are confident in their plan, they can enjoy the time along with their customers,” Donohue says.
“If they feel equipped and empowered, any issue is dealt with quickly and confidently. A happy team equals happy customers.”
Stay true to your brand DNA
“It’s very easy for brands to get lost in the chaos of Christmas,” Donohue says. “They get carried away with the tactical and promotional element.”
“One of our strategies is to stay true to our brand DNA; we ensure that when consumers purchase a Christmas gift from Jurlique, it’s Jurlique first, Christmas second.”
Look after yourself
Holiday trading is hectic. To bring your best to work each day, it’s important for SMEs to ensure they consider work-life balance.
This means reaching out to friends and family to provide additional help – whether in the business or at home.
Start planning again in January
Once Christmas is over it is pays to start planning again for next year. Of course it makes sense to plan early. But how early?
“Plan straight after Christmas for the next Christmas,’ Moylan says. “Take the lessons you’ve learned, and look forward to where the market will go next year.”
Early planning is more than just carefully reviewing stock levels and ordering products you need accordingly.
Moylan believes it’s really crucial to have confidence and discipline in your plan, as well as monitor it weekly.
“That’s how you execute beautifully, and deliver an experience that’s different to other retailers,” she says.
Effective planning enables SMEs to ramp up and roll out impactful marketing strategies.
“Invest in activities like customer events, masterclasses and competitions,” Moylan says.
Gabrielle Mitchell is a bluenotes contributor
This story originally appeared on the ANZ Business Hub