Get your small business ready for the festive season

11th November 2020

It’s time! We’re incredibly excited for the festive season – it’s a great opportunity for small businesses to get their names out there and bring their businesses to life.

We’ve compiled our top five tips to help you impress all your new customers and increase your sales. Let’s make the most of season this year!

1. What worked last year?

If you’ve been through season before you’ll have a pretty good idea of things that worked and things that didn’t. Were your shopping hours long enough? Did you have enough product variety? Or perhaps too much? Make sure you also ask your staff what they thought went well last December.

If this is your first season, think like a customer. What did you see other businesses doing last season that inspired you? What did you dislike?

Once you have a grip on what happened last year, turn your attention to what’s changed and what is happening this year.

2. What trends or changes are happening in your area this year?

Being aware of what’s happening around you and how you can tap into it can make a huge difference.

For example, if you’re in the Western Cape, selling pot plants or decorating your store with flowers may not be wise due to the drought.

‘Health and Wellness’ is another example of a trend that has picked up sharply throughout the country. Consider mixing in a few healthy options in between the chocolates you sell.

3. Be thoughtful with your decor

Most small businesses don’t have a lot of space to play with, so trying to fit a Christmas tree in the corner can make the place feel cramped and take attention away from your products.

If you’re feeling creative, a smart way to get around this problem is to use your products as part of your decoration. Steal a bit of inspiration from Le Creuset who builds a ‘tree’ out their pots. Louboutin put Santa in heels, and one bottle store created mini reindeer (or reinBEER?).

4. Think about the customer service you currently offer and see what can be improved

We all know how busy shops, restaurants, malls and markets get during season. We’ve undoubtedly also experienced the short tempers people have during this period.

Make sure you pre-empt any major problem areas beforehand and find ways to add extra delight. For example, if people are queueing for a table or to check out, can you offer them a drink or something to read while they wait?

It’s also important to make sure your staff are fully trained and ready to deal with any language barriers that arise. Nothing is more frustrating for than someone wanting to buy something and ending up lost in translation. Consider getting an app like iTranslate or learn a few new phrases here.

5. Make sure you accept card payments and have your point of sale set up

The process of paying is an important contributor to the overall impression that a tourist – or indeed any customer – goes home with. You can do everything else right, but if your customer can’t pay, it’s all for nothing. Find out more about how to choose a Point of Sale machine that suits your business in “How to get started accepting card payments”.

In addition to card payments, it’s essential to evaluate your point of sale system as well. Being organised can also make a massive difference for a busy business. Yoco allows you to quickly customise your Point of Sale system with brands, categories, and shortcuts.