Although Christmas might seem a long way off, it is time to start planning your seasonal marketing campaign. With only a few weeks until the biggest shopping period of the year, preparing now is essential for maximising sales and building customer loyalty.
Plan for Success at Christmas
With customers beginning their seasonal shopping earlier each year, most brands launch their Christmas campaigns in mid-October. November and December have the potential to bring extremely high order volumes, so luxury brands need to make effective plans early to run the best campaigns and maintain high levels of customer service as Christmas approaches.
While the Christmas shopping season is the most important time of year in sales, it is also a crucial period for customer service. The loyalty that your brand builds at this time of year will see you through the next twelve months.
Delivering on Service
Many premium and luxury brands rely on a small team, and during November and December this can mean all hands on deck to fulfil the deluge of gift orders. During this busy time, it is essential that brands don’t sacrifice customer service for sales.
Shoppers are known to have higher expectations as Christmas approaches; they are busy too and need everything to work effortlessly. If you promise replies to queries within 24 hours or delivery within three days, ensure that you have plans to continue to meet these deadlines during peak shopping periods. If a query isn’t answered promptly or an order is delayed, the customer may simply go elsewhere.
With high orders and enquiry volumes, how will your small business cope? Consider hiring extra help, perhaps engaging a VA for the 6 weeks before Christmas, to handle the extra workload. It is essential that your usual levels of service don’t slip, because customers who receive good service often return to make another purchase before Christmas, and again throughout the following year as their brand loyalty grows. On the other hand, if they are disappointed by the service they receive, customers are unlikely to return to your brand at all.
Post your Posting Dates
Shoppers respond to the urgency of a deadline, so display last order dates and posting times from November wherever your audience sees your brand: Use an eye-catching banner for your site and newsletters and include the information in social media posts – you can even add a hashtag to get noticed. Your audience will appreciate the helpful reminder, and you won’t miss out on sales.
Black Friday for Premium and Luxury Brands
Consumers expect all brands to participate in Black Friday deals. For luxury brands, discounts do not have to be deep or long; try offers such as £10 off when you spend £50, or a Gift with Purchase, each available for only 24-48 hours, to incentivise purchase without devaluing your brand. And for small businesses that offer high value items, a collaboration with another brand is a great way to bring value and grow your audience.
Make sure all your Black Friday marketing collateral is prepared in advance and expect a dip in sales just before – consumers are savvy and love a bargain – but remember they’ll be in full shopping mode once Black Friday arrives.
Share the Love: Maximise Sales and Brand Loyalty
Show your appreciation for your best customers by sending personalised emails or handwritten Christmas cards to thank them for their support. Brands can even use this as an opportunity to prompt purchases by including a voucher to use before Christmas, or to build that all-important brand loyalty by rewarding them with a gift.
Encourage Repeat Purchases
As Christmas draws nearer, keep customers returning to your site. One of our favourite activities is a Twelve Days of Christmas campaign, where customers are offered a giveaway or a surprise every day from 1st December. This can involve collaborations with other brands (twelve, if you can manage it!) or a mix or competitions, special offers and incentives. Activity like this takes a lot of preparation, so plan now to have everything ready in time.
Get Christmas Wrapped Up
If your business offers a gift-wrapping service, be sure to promote it, whether this is a new service for the Christmas period or part of your standard offering. Busy shoppers really appreciate this service as it allows them to have last minute purchases delivered direct to the recipient, saving precious time during a hectic season. If possible, factor free gift-wrapping into your pricing.
Increasing numbers of customers expect free delivery when they shop over a certain value, so offer this wherever you can. Don’t forget, this can be a handy tool to increase your average basket value.
Small Businesses Prepare Early to Make Christmas a Success
It can be too easy to let summer come and go without planning for Christmas, but if you’re not prepared it could spell disaster. Last minute decisions are more likely to deviate from your strategy, and if your Christmas campaigns are not live by mid-October, your business will miss out on sales. And without plans to protect customer service, reputation and customer loyalty can also be damaged.
So, for a successful Christmas, look at every area of your business and make plans to scale up. A trickle of orders can become a flood in just a few short weeks, so make sure you know how you’ll keep your business going and your customers happy.
Having difficulty conjuring the seasonal spirit while the sun shines? Give us a call at Coleman Hammond for help writing and implementing your Christmas campaign.