How To Prepare Your Business For Christmas


Analysis by retailer John Lewis showed searches for ‘Christmas gifts’ on its website in August 2023 doubled compared to the same month in 2022. It also found that 28% of customers buy festive gifts as early as August, while a Google report revealed that last year 30% of John Lewis customers had completed their Christmas shopping by the end of October.

Statistics like this show the importance of businesses planning early for the holiday season so that they can maximise sales opportunities.

Read our tips below for the preparation you should carry out to ensure your business has a profitable festive season.

Monitor Christmas sales trends

Conducting market research and analysing data can help your business to have a successful Christmas.

Look at your sales figures from previous holiday seasons to identify trends and customer behaviour.

Monitor competitors’ Christmas marketing activities and consult your customers about their Christmas shopping intentions using polls and surveys.

Industry data, such as Mintel’s UK Christmas Gift Buying Market Report, provide valuable insights into holiday season trends you can take advantage of.

The reports can be expensive to purchase, but the British Library’s Business & IP Centres provide free access to many industry insights.

Review your finances

The festive season can mean extra expenses for businesses. That includes recruiting seasonal staff, sourcing stock, paying for marketing, delivering orders, handling product returns, and purchasing gifts for clients.

Review your finances to ensure you have sufficient funds to cover the additional costs. Work with your accountant to manage your cash flow and calculate how much money you will need. Checking your expenses from last Christmas can be useful, but bear in mind that costs could be different this year.

Draw up a budget and identify any cash flow gaps that need dealing with such as by accessing external funding.

Source stock for Christmas

You might need to source extra stock for Christmas. Planning early helps to ensure you can get hold of the stock you need, secure exclusive products and get an advantage over your competitors.

To pay for the extra stock, you might need external business funding. One option is inventory finance, also known as stock finance, which involves using inventory as collateral to quickly access funds. You pay back the finance, with interest and other charges, as you sell the stock.

Speak to your accountant for advice on which funding methods are best for your business.

Consider your holiday season pricing

Pricing is crucial during the holiday season so work out much you will charge for products and services, including any offers such as two for one deals. Look at your pricing from last Christmas to help inform your decisions.

During the cost-of-living crisis, you might need to have higher prices than last year. If so, you’ll need to consider the impact on customers and whether an increase will cause a decrease in sales. For detailed advice on raising your prices, read this guide.

Recruit seasonal staff

If you need extra staff during the holiday season, consider how and when you will start the recruitment process. Big retailers often start the process as early as August with application deadlines in October. Smaller businesses may not need to start as soon as the summer but consider how much competition there may be for finding staff from competitor businesses.

Research the tools and services you can use to recruit staff. Your options include recruitment agencies, online jobs boards and professional networking website LinkedIn.

You might also decide to use social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, particularly if you’re looking for younger workers, while encouraging existing staff to recommend potential new recruits can be useful.

If you need help with the legal issues related to recruitment, TaxAssist Accountants can put you in touch with employment law support service Employmentor.

Plan your Christmas marketing strategy

Marketing is vital during the holiday season. Start working on a strategy and set goals for what you want your marketing to achieve.

Analyse your marketing activities during last Christmas to see what worked well and what didn’t. Use Google Analytics to look at how your website performed.

Consider which channels you will use to market your products or services, and plan how you will include any special offers in your marketing activities.

Think about the marketing content you need and who will produce it. This might be you as the business owner, in-house marketing staff or an external expert. If your business is producing the content internally, low-cost design tools such as Canva and Adobe Express are useful.

If you decide to use a marketing consultant, attending networking events is a way to meet one or get recommendations from other business owners.

If you plan to pay for advertising, research which channels are most suitable for your business.

For product businesses, getting featured in Christmas gift guides can be useful.

According to this advice by a PR expert, monthly magazines plan gift sections between July and September, weekly publications build the content from September until November, and newspapers compile their guides between October and December.

You will likely need to provide high quality images of your products to be featured. Here’s an example of the information required by magazines for gift guides.

How TaxAssist Accountants can help your business

TaxAssist Accountants can help you with the right advice to support your business. While our expertise covers tax, accounting, bookkeeping and payroll, we can also connect you with other providers we work with.

Contact us to find out more about our services and to book a free initial consultation.

TaxAssist Accountants are Laurel Leaf Networking directory members.

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