Christmas is coming, folks. Although it takes place on the same date every year, it has an uncanny way of sneaking up on people. Unfortunately, too often we see retailers in a stressful situation when they realise that their marketing plans haven’t lined up with their websites.

This year, we’ve enlisted the help of local retail planning expert, Deb Fribbins to give you some tips on making the silly season a little less stressful with effective planning.

Deb has worked in buying for some Australian retail giants including Target, Myer and Harris Scarfe, so she understands how to make your Christmas retail planning work for you. With her new business, Developing Excellence in Business, she now provides business planning advice in the Geelong region, with a particular interest in retail.

Christmas trade fairs are already in operation. While you’re planning your product range, you need to start looking at the bigger picture, and every step that will be required from purchasing through to delivery.

Whether you are an Online or Bricks and Mortar Retailer, the principles are the same. In order to ensure you grow you Christmas business you need to start planning NOW.

We couldn’t agree more. Planning your Christmas range is the first part of the strategy. You need to make sure that you leave yourself enough time to market it effectively too. There’s no point in having the must have Christmas item for 2016 on your shelves if no-one knows that you have it.

If you maintain your own website or online store, you need to allow yourself enough time to upload your products, optimise your product pages, and create marketing images so they sell. If you outsource your graphic design or web services, you need to give your web people enough time to get the job done well. Online Sales start peaking in the first week of December, you need to be well and truly prepared by then so don’t miss the boat.

You can get your product pages ready early and leave them disabled or save them as a draft, enabling and releasing them to the public as needed. It will save you a lot of time at Christmas when you should be more focused on setting up your store displays, attending to customer enquiries or packing and delivering your orders.
Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Identify your customer and focus on them. Your product range and marketing strategy should work around your customer, not on trying to please everybody. That just doesn’t work.

Deb has kindly offered a copy of her tips to Identify, Plan and Implement your way to Christmas sales success to all our newsletter subscribers. She also has a special offer running until the end of May allowing you three one hour sessions to clarify, review and plan for the implementation of sustainable strategies to improve your business outcomes.