How to prepare your business for the “festive season”


Christmas and New Year are yet again upon us!

It’s time to prepare your business and your employees for what’s to come, whether this is the most profitable time of the year for your business or you’re choosing to close for Christmas.

There is no doubt this year more people will take time off or travel (including you or your employees), so planning early will help you minimise stress as you approach the end of the year.

The Zaka team has put together a few tips that can best prepare you for the upcoming “silly season”!


Set your business operating hours

Have you decided what are your operating hours this year yet?

So maybe after analysing previous years’ sales or workload data, you decide to trade longer (or shorter) in the lead-up to Christmas. Whatever you decide, you need to let your customers know.

If you have a physical shop/ office, putting a sign up ahead of time within your venue is a great way to reach those shopping directly within your store, but that might be not enough. It is especially important that you use social media and all digital channels to expand your reach.

As you update your website and Google Business page with your business hours, you can also pin your “Working out of hours” Instagram post to always be displayed at the top of your grid, send an eDM to your customers, or change your Facebook cover with your operation business days and times.


Have a creative holiday marketing strategy

Try to spice up your business, whether it’s a physical store or an eCommerce site, to surprise customers who like to spend during this time of the year.

A great way to do so is by creating themed seasonal promotions like the classic “12 Days of Christmas” posts, promotional bundles, 2022 rewind videos, a virtual advent calendar or running a x-mas holiday giveaway.

If you are a retail seller and want to boost sales during this season, identify the marketing channels that are most likely to give you a good return on your investment, whether this means Facebook ads, direct mail postcards, email campaigns, or traditional newspaper or radio advertising.

Adding these festive elements to the shopping experience will warm the atmosphere and it can even encourage impulsive buying from customers.



Establish holiday policies and automations

If you haven’t established a vacation policy yet, now is the time to do it and communicate it to your employees. Your team probably would like to take time off during Christmas, but not having anyone to refer to if an emergency happens might not be realistic.

The automation of your employees’ emails or website actions (purchases, tracking orders, welcome emails, and informative emails) will keep your business running smoothly without you having to worry about sending individual emails to your customers.


Example of automation “Out of Office”

Thank you for your email. 

I’m out of the office for the holidays and will be back on [date].

During this period, I will have limited access to my email. If you need to contact me, I can be reached at [number, another email, mailing address], otherwise, I will respond to your email on my return.


{Your name}.


Provide excellent customer service

Setting up a stock replenishment plan will help you to have enough products to satisfy your customer demand during the festive season. The last thing you want is to tell your customers you run out of stock, as it will encourage them to not buy from your store in the future.

In light of the average eCommerce return rate hovering around 20-30%, it’s imperative that you implement a return policy to minimize return costs. When you smooth out the return process and treat it like an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your customers, they will be more inclined to shop with you again and you will see the return costs going down. 


Create and schedule before Christmas

All I want for Christmas is you… and not having to create content!

Be sure you have created enough content before you begin your holiday. Starting your digital marketing strategy a few days before Christmas is a good way to succeed amongst other businesses, as the holiday season is a very competitive time. You can gain an advantage over your competitors if you get started promoting early.

If you don’t want to be creating and scheduling content every day, using a social media calendar that scopes all your media channels, will help you keep track of every post without having to stress about posting every second day. Pheew! You can also design interactive posts and encourage your followers to tag you or use your hashtags to create user-generated content during the weeks you are away, so the only thing you’ll have to do is repost.


Wrapping up

And that will be it! Besides getting your Christmas campaign right, don’t forget to relax, celebrate and focus on the holiday spirit too!