With less than a hundred days until Christmas, retail businesses are in the last few weeks of their prepping and planning phase. With online shopping set to take center stage once again this festive season, the UK’s biggest selling platforms are gearing up for the busiest time of the year.
What will the customer be looking for this holiday season, and how can retailers and brands best prepare for this vital influx of sales?
Shopping with intention
Etsy Trend Expert, Dayna Isom Johnson, thinks that “this Christmas, customers will be looking to shop with intention. I expect to see shoppers opting for extra thoughtful gifts that create long-lasting memories – like handsewn quilts, custom cocktail cards, and personalised chess sets”.
Louise Daniel, founder of design-led marketplace And So To Shop echoes this. “We’ll see people splashing out on good quality, beautiful decorations, gift wrap, food and drink…. People are wanting to create magical memories. Keepsake baubles, personalised stockings, treat food and matching pyjamas will help to bring that magic”.
Daniel adds “we’re also seeing a massive increase in eco-friendly product sales as people are wanting to shop more sustainably”.
Murray Lambell, eBay UK Vice President and General Manager adds “customers are looking to spoil their loved ones more than ever, yet it’s no surprise with the current economic outlook that getting great value presents is front of mind for many”.
Prepare earlier than ever
Preparation for the busiest period of the retail year is the key to a really successful Christmas. And this year, it looks like shoppers will be purchasing early – nobody wants to be caught out like last year with last minute restrictions and lockdowns.
“Shoppers are wanting to bring the magic of Christmas into their homes early this year, as many are excited to celebrate with close friends and family” says Johnson.
Lambell adds: “we know that customers are preparing for Christmas earlier than ever – with many intending to have their shopping finished before December has even begun.”
He suggests using last year’s data as a starting point for that all important early preparation. “We know that Black Friday gets busier for small businesses each year, so we recommend that they reassess their stock levels after this big trading moment happens, in the lead up to Christmas. And it’s not just the product that small businesses need to be mindful of, as they’ll need to replenish supplies of packaging, tape and labels to get gifts to customers quickly and safely”.
Johnson advises small businesses “to start preparing right now. Whether that’s making sure to have enough inventory, starting to offer Christmas items earlier in the season, or being sure to have top-notch photography –be ready to provide those options that will help make this Christmas a little extra bright for customers”.
Daniel states: “start now if you haven’t already. Let customers know what you have to make their Christmas truly magical, and include all those important details.”
She suggests answering all of their questions about availability, personalisation, gift wrap options and last shipping dates as early as possible and saying it “over, and over again so they get the message and make the most of this golden quarter”.
She goes on to share a positive outlook for small businesses: “we are already seeing sales of Christmas cards, gift wrap and gifts. More customers shopping early is great for small businesses as it means if you manage your stock, you can potentially sell more products over a longer period”.