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What can businesses learn from Christmas?

Christmas has a huge impact on businesses and the ways that they operate usually change during the season of goodwill. Businesses must decide how they will handle increased business activity, whilst making sure that they still provide the best service for their customers.

However, there are difficulties that come with this, which can have a lasting effect on the business going into the new year. Here are three areas where the festive season has the biggest impact on businesses and the lessons they can take into 2017.

1. Staffing

Holiday requests and increased demands for flexible hours make it difficult for small businesses to make sure they have enough resources over the festive season. Businesses often rely on temporary or casual workers to help meet increased demand, but this itself can cause problems. As well as the additional cost and training requirements, a recent report by Kellogg School of Management has shown that people may be likely to act unethically when coming to the end of a contract in what is called “anticipatory regret”.

To prevent this, they have suggested giving small bonuses to employees, such as an early finish, as it will make them less likely to seek their own bonuses. This is advice that employers can use all year round as retaining staff is financially beneficial and better for employee morale.

2. Pricing

48% of people worry about Christmas spending and try to find the best deals, prompting retailers to cut prices to stay competitive. The pressure is on as they must encourage customers to buy their products using promotions and reduced prices, whilst also making enough money to cover the increased operating expenses.

As a business, you should monitor the success of marketing and sales strategies that were put in place during the festive season – they’ll be useful in the coming year to figure out which strategies or incentives were successful.

3. Stock

There may be unexpected products that are popular with shoppers during the festive season. For example, a study by The Furniture Market detailed an increase in sales of furniture for festive gatherings, revealing that over 4 million “emergency chairs” were used by families at Christmas.

Businesses must prepare for the sufficient stock over the Christmas period. Failure to do so can result in customer frustration and a negative image of the company, which could affect a customer’s decision to return. Businesses should use data from their Christmas sales to ensure they’re fully prepared with the right stock for the following year.

Businesses can take lessons from their busy festive season to help them improve their business operations for the new year. They can use their data to identify trends, encourage repeat buys and retain good staff – helping them to fully prepare and grow over the coming year.