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Planning ahead the key to Christmas success

It’s nearly time to start putting out Christmas stock, and therefore important to start thinking about your holiday marketing now.

Approximately 20 to 40 per cent of annual sales are made in November and December, which means planning ahead is invaluable.

Lee Hawksley, managing director of ExactTarget Australia, believes local retailers need to be on top of their game in the run up to Christmas if they want to compete with overseas brands.

“The holiday season is a huge opportunity for Australian businesses to boost their annual profits, but it’s also a tremendous opportunity to create lasting relationships. By communicating with [customers] and providing useful, valuable information and reminders, you can develop loyalty and increase repeat business,” Hawksley said.

“Using digital channels to create and deepen customer relationships should be top of every retail executive’s agenda as they seek to maximise revenue potential over the coming months,” Hawksley said.

Here are some tips from ExactTarget to help you get on track for Christmas:

Get your house in order

Update customer details to leverage what you know about your customers. Prompt customers to update their information so you can deliver personalised content through their preferred channel. You should also encourage customers to join your loyalty program and remind them to connect to your social media pages.

Early bird offers

Give customers sneak peeks at your Christmas stock and store events on your social media pages and email subscribers in October and November.

You can drive pre-orders and early sales by highlighting potential Christmas sell-outs, and optimise the customer experience by offering lay-by.

Embrace the holiday spirit

Decorate your emails like you would a shop front, and make holiday shopping easy for customers by offering free shipping or gift wrapping for early bird shoppers.

If you offer bespoke or personalised gifts, it’s a good idea to remind your customers about holiday lead times in November.

Make the most of December

Last minute shoppers may need a bit of inspiration, so consider using guided selling and asking a simple set of questions to drive personalised gift recommendations. You can also help drive sales by offering gift cards for shoppers who may not know what gifts to buy.

Make sure to send information on last dates for shipping to be received by the holidays.

The clean up

The work doesn’t end at Christmas – January is the perfect time to clear any excess stock and upsell where you can. You can continue to drive sales by promoting post-holiday sales, and email gift card holders to remind them to use their cards.

You can also offer personalised emails based on past purchases by suggesting complementary products, like compatible accessories, and remind customers about deadlines for returning and exchanging gifts.

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Gina Baldassarre

Gina Baldassarre

Gina is a journalist at Dynamic Business. She enjoys learning to ice skate and collecting sappy inspirational quotes.

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