UNLESS you spent the last week under a rock – or without a TV – you can’t have missed the official launch of the Christmas shopping season and the battle of the big retail brands and their festive telly ad campaigns.
No expense has been spared by the likes of John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Boots in creating their tantalising two minutes of air time, not to mention producing the mainstream and social media campaigns to promote the main advertising campaigns.
Like all good seasonal sales strategies, these marketing masterpieces were months in the planning and production – so what have you done about yours?
If the answer is ‘nothing yet’, here are some tips for making sure your business is ready for the Christmas rush.

A Christmas Cracker of a Website: Give your website a seasonal makeover, with a sprinkling of Santa hats, Xmas gifts and snowmen, and updating some of the content to give it a festive flavour. You could add a link to a commercially available online advent calendar that people will come back to every day. Most importantly make sure that information on your opening hours and delivery options is clearly displayed.

Xmas Shopping on the Move: Online sales through are set to soar this Christmas, pushed higher by those from mobile phones and tablets, so if you don’t want to miss out, make sure your website’s online shop is mobile friendly There is a lot of information online about how to web optimise for mobile devices, but if you’d rather leave that to a technical expert there are plenty of web professionals for hire who can do it for you.

Seasonally Social Media: It is the season of goodwill, so be generous with your Followers, Likers and members of your Google+ circles, and share some of your own top marketing tips, links to special offers, and just add a bit of festive cheer to your social media posts. It engages people, and won’t do your brand’s online presence any harm either.

Yuletide Blog: Not started blogging yet? Don’t put it off until the New Year; use the run up Christmas to tell your customers, suppliers, social media contacts more about your business, products, and any special offers that you’ll be running. Some firms have been clever and used a festive theme, for example, the Twelve Days of Christmas with a blog that focuses on a new product every day.

Customers are not Just for Christmas…: A well planned Christmas marketing strategy should result in a seasonal spike in orders, so you need to make sure your business is prepared. You can hire temporary staff to help with the order processing, packaging and shipping, and it goes without saying that stock control is the key to everything running smoothly. But in the festive rush, don’t underestimate the value of excellent customer service; it can turn stressed Christmas shoppers into regular customers.

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