While the rest of the human race are thinking “do not mention the word Christmas”, in the retail world, we are thinking non -stop about Christmas.

 

If you are a retail business, an Amazon / eBay /  NOTHS / Etsy seller, or a salon or spa with an element of retail in your business then you will no doubt be planning and thinking about what products you must sell between now and December 25th, and how you are going to do that.

September is a good time to soft launch some lower priced items, and to sell any stock left over from last Christmas, or Mother’s Day / Father’s Day gifts that didn’t sell through (sorry, no matter how good a salesperson you are, Easter stock just won’t sell!)

 

 

I speak to many small retailers, all juggling to do everything required of them as a retail business owner; buying, selling, marketing, finance, stock control, displays, social media, memes… you know the many hats I have talked of before! My advice is always the same…. The key to a successful Christmas is in the planning. Have a plan. Make the plan. Work the plan.

 

Yes, you can juggle and move things around within the plan, but knowing what stock you have bought, and how much (in cash value) it is worth, when you are launching, any promotions, key dates and events you are attending all form the basis of your week by week plan and actions.

Checking and reviewing your plan on a day to day basis, and reacting to your sales, the market and customers is critical too. You will become obsessive about your sales versus your sales plan, you’ll be checking your stock holding on a daily basis, to check your stock is selling through as per the planned sales curve. The ultimate goal is to sell out just in time for Christmas…. to achieve a 100% sell through on all of your seasonal lines, giving you a budget to spend on Spring product, and with an empty stockroom and satisfied customers.

 

Working for the big retailers really taught me to plan ahead. As the Christmas Buyer, it really was Christmas all year round at my desk. All large retailers work almost a year in advance, in fact, they will be planning and brainstorming ideas for products and marketing for 2019 right now! They will be gathering Christmas magazines, PR pieces, taking screen shots of their competitors’ websites and saving links to you tube clips for ads…plus shopping for samples, taking pics, sketching ideas. If you don’t write it down, take the pic or buy the sample, you forget what was out there.

 

I’m not saying you need to work 12 months in advance, but thinking a few months ahead about your Christmas trading, really will pay off. And while you’re trading, don’t forget to take those pictures, save those links and grab those samples. Make a note of the weather, key events happening and items that sell out quickly, items that suppliers sell out of quickly, your competitors activity, sales at events…. Every piece of information can help you to plan next year!

But for now, get your figures together, KNOW how much stock you have to sell, plan a launch of your ranges, plan your promotions and marketing, your social media posts, and don’t forget to sustain that amazing customer service…. I’d love you to tell me you had a complete sell out, and by Christmas eve your ranges had sold out! And yes you can, have a great Christmas season!

If you would like more information on planning for Christmas, grab my free 10 step planning checklist which gives you an overview of your planning for Christmas. Access it here 

And for even more guidance and focus, why not join my VIP Retail Biz club. For just £10 per month, I provide masterclasses, guest expert sessions and downloads. During September, October and November I am working with my VIP members, taking them through, step by step on the planning, preparation and promotions to give them their best Christmas trading yet. Take a look at the VIP Retail Biz Club Here 

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