What you need to get right this festive period

Three things small businesses need to get right this festive period

Weds Dec 5 2018

It might be considered the most wonderful time of the year, but for small business owners the festive period can be nothing short of hectic.

The UK takes Christmas seriously, coming in as the highest-spending market in Europe with the average shopper expecting to fork out £567 this year[1]. Add to that the boom in eCommerce – as a nation we spend nearly £1 billion a week online – and it’s safe to say retailers can expect a busy few weeks.

But Christmas is no longer just about shopping ‘til you drop: in recent years we have seen the rise of the experience economy, as consumers increasingly favour paying for memories such as eating out and live events instead of things. In fact, Brits are set to spend £1.6 billion on experience gifts this Christmas in an effort to cater for a ‘got it all’ generation, the latest research from Barclaycard reveals.

There are plenty of opportunities for small businesses to take advantage of the Christmas and New Year rush – but being prepared is key. We’ve rounded up the three things you need to get right over the coming weeks.

Use technology to maximise the busiest days

Almost two in five of us will leave our Christmas shopping until December[2], which can make for some extremely busy trading days in the final run up to Christmas. Making sure that you are prepared for the rise in footfall is essential.

In an increasingly cash-free world, you could be losing business by not allowing your customers to pay by card. As many as 10 million people in the UK alone will actively avoid restaurants, cafes, bars and shops that don’t accept card payments[3], research reveals.

And rather than relying on outdated or non-digitised inventory systems, in-store retail POS systems can allow you to check stock levels quickly and easily at your till point. This frees up time so staff can focus on ordering more stock, helping customers or working out ways to give shoppers the best experience in your store.

Don’t lose shoppers with a bad online experience

As the biggest online spenders in Europe[4], UK shoppers now spend an average of almost £300 purchasing goods online at Christmas[5]. But today’s tech-savvy shopper can easily be put off by a bad experience when shopping online.

Providing customers with a smooth payment process is more likely to encourage repeat custom and prevent the dreaded abandoned basket.

eCommerce retailers lose out on a whopping £18 billion worth of sales each year as a result of purchases that are abandoned by shoppers before being completed, with some of the most common reasons including being faced with a complicated or lengthy check out process, a lack of trust in the payment page, or having to create an account in order to complete a purchase.

Having the right online payment gateway could not only encourage more transactions on your site, but help keep your customers coming back.

Contactless: less queues, more income

Brits might be famed for their ability to queue, but in the technology age customers increasingly expect lightning-fast service. During the festive rush, the sight of a lengthy queue may well send potential customers packing, causing you to miss out on business.

You could save your customers time and increase your income by offering contactless payment. More than half of UK consumers say they choose contactless because it saves time – 15 seconds compared to cash, and seven seconds compared to chip and PIN, to be precise. That quickly adds up: in a 10-person queue, using contactless saves 2.5 minutes. Over the course of a day, that could equate to a significant amount of extra income gained from the time saved – welcome news to any business.


[1] Source: Deloitte Christmas Survey 2018, https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/consumer-business/articles/deloitte-christmas-survey-2018.html
[2] Source: Centre for Retail Research via BBC News, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46097766
[3] Source: Ubamarket via Express.co.uk, https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/life/833784/credit-card-debit-contactless-payment-cash
[4] Source: Deloitte Christmas Survey 2018, https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/consumer-business/articles/deloitte-christmas-survey-2018.html
[5] Source: Research commissioned by Royal Mail, https://www.royalmailgroup.com/en/press-centre/press-releases/royal-mail-group/uk-online-shoppers-spend-almost-300-making-purchases-online-at-christmas/

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