by Angela Delaney

Is your business ready for the Boxing Day and January sales?

At this time of year, many businesses will be feeling the pressure as order quantities increase and the need for fast, efficient and time-sensitive shipping services becomes more important than at any other time of year.

As a result, December is a rarely a relaxing period for retailers, which is why many may be looking forward to the end of this hectic period, when all of the pre-Christmas orders have been successfully shipped and processed. However, for most consumer-facing companies, the busy festive season doesn’t end there - instead, December 25th marks the transition from the Christmas rush to the Boxing Day and New Year sales period, when demand gets even more intense.

The post-Christmas sales can be one of the most lucrative times of year for the retail sector, but only if they prepare themselves properly for the increased demand they will inevitably see. By planning sensibly, you can keep the feelings of festive goodwill going well into January, and have plenty of profits to show for it even after the Christmas lights go down.

Look to past trends to inform your planning

In the world of business, making accurate future projections often relies on looking to the past. When preparing for the Boxing Day and January sales, it’s therefore important to look to previous commercial trends to help anticipate the level of demand your sector is likely to expect over the sales season.

This is particularly important given the variable performance of the UK retail sector in recent years. Although the post-Christmas sales remain a commercially important period, the recent emergence of the Black Friday phenomenon has taken a certain amount of consumer attention away from the Boxing Day sales. This is a trend that savvy retailers ought to be accounting for if they wish to avoid making over-ambitious forecasts for the period.

Of course, underestimating the demand for Boxing Day bargains is also a certain losing strategy, so it’s best to take a good look at sector-specific sales trends from recent festive periods and ensure that your stock levels are set at an appropriate level.

Use all available channels to promote your activities

Although consumer demand is usually sky-high during the festive sales period, so too is the level of supply. Your businesses is sure to be offering tempting deals, but so will all of your competitors, so it will take savvy use of every available promotional channel to make your offerings stand out.

This might mean revamping the design and presentation of your website with an eye-catching Boxing Day sales-themed visual design, or reaching out to potential consumers through the intelligent use of social networks, from Twitter to Instagram. It may also mean ramping up your email marketing with targeted messaging and exclusive deals, or taking the the opportunity to revamp your mobile presence to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to get access to your deals while on the move.

Remember, modern consumers generally prioritise convenience over brand loyalty, so make sure it’s as easy as possible for potential customers to buy from you while your sales are ongoing.

Make good use of business data

The digitisation of modern business practices has created a lot of new challenges, but one of the biggest advantages it has delivered is the huge increase in the amount of useful consumer data available to companies of all sizes.

Studying broader industry trends can certainly be useful, but the insights that your organisation can get by analysing website usage data, customer purchase histories and user feedback can be truly indispensable, allowing you to predict demand and deliver responsive, tailored services during busy periods in a way that wouldn’t have been possible even a few years ago.

Of course, the responsibilities involved in managing and analysing all of that data can be significant - especially with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in 2018 - but the benefits it can deliver in terms of maximising Boxing Day profitability can’t be underestimated.

Get the right manpower in place

Preparing for the Boxing Day sales period means getting all of the right resources in place to cope with the increased demand, including replenishing stock levels and setting aside a portion of your budget to account for the various logistical requirements involved with moving large quantities of product. Amidst all this, it’s important not to forget about the need to prepare your workforce equally thoroughly.

After all, the Christmas period is a popular time for staff to take time off work, so it can sometimes be a challenge to amass the manpower you’ll need to execute successfully on your ambitious plans for the sales season. Addressing this may mean paying overtime rates to get as many hands on deck as possible, which may increase upfront costs over the period - but the rewards can be well worth it.

Shop around for the best shipping rates

When you have a heaving list of orders, it can be difficult to find economical ways of getting all of them shipped out to customers in a timely and efficient manner, especially if you’re an international business selling to clients across the world. This is a particular concern at this time of year, when many delivery services are affected by seasonal delays and downtime, frustrating your efforts to make a good impression to customers buying from you for the first time.

This is why it pays to shop around for the best shipping rates using a service like World Options. With us, you can ship with the world’s largest carriers and secure the kind of low rates that are only possible with bulk buying, even if you consider yourself a low-volume business. We also offer worldwide tracking information and flexible delivery options, making sure that all the products you sell over Boxing Day and the New Year reach their destinations as safely and conveniently as possible.

For more information on how we can help to make your January sales a smashing success, check out our Ultimate Guide to Business Shipping. Alternatively, you can get in touch today by calling 0330 335 8100 or filling in our online enquiry form.

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