The Countdown To A COVID Christmas For Small Business And What You Might Need To Consider
We are all juggling the ever-changing COVID restrictions be it pivoting, going online, only selling local, or sadly closed until further notice. However, what I want to encourage us all to do is start considering what Christmas could look like, and the importance of planning early this year for either full lockdown, eased restrictions or somewhere in between.
I have been chatting to business owners of all types from online, brick and mortar, product, and service businesses as to how they are changing things this year. I would love to hear what you are working on to adapt this year. Feel free to let me know or comment below.
From early shipping, to reassessing product lines, here’s how some Aussie businesses are planning on doing things a little differently this year.
Emily Pask, owner of Modest Mermaid swimwear brand told me ~
“As we are an ecommerce brand, we will certainly be promoting early shipping for customers to get their products in time for Xmas, especially with covid and lockdowns – shipping times/delays have been so unpredictable, so we need to leave plenty of time for these unforeseen circumstances.”
Shipping is certainly a factor for many businesses this year. Informing customers early and setting expectations for shipping times, is crucial to avoid disappointment and the inevitable negative reviews or refund demands.
But aside from allowing time for shipping, some businesses are scrutinising their product range and using insights from last year, to predict what will be needed and popular this year, for a scaled back Christmas that perhaps doesn’t involve large family gatherings or hired premises for large corporate parties.
Dean Salakas from The Party People chatted with me about his considerations.
“People are stuck at home and working from home and want to go to town on parties in their home by decorating both inside and out! We predict decorating backyards, and higher volume of lights will be more popular than ever, whereas hats and costumes, less so, with nowhere to go out”.
Dean is recognising and forecasting early, what products are likely to be in demand and ensuring that he has availability of them.
“We have looked at a fully locked down Christmas and an ‘eased restrictions’ version – if dinner parties can go ahead, but not large parties for example, then we will focus on our 6 pack bon bons rather than our usual, 100 pack. We are communicating to customers now about what they can do and giving them ideas and get them thinking about what’s possible”.
But Dean has also been very savvy in safeguarding his bricks and mortar business and team of staff, by creating a lockdown contingency plan. Having witnessed the impact across Victoria of snap lockdowns, he realised the need to have a plan if he were to continue trading seamlessly and not lose customers. Dean recognised that there were several variables should restrictions change at short notice, and he needed to be certain that he had a plan for the closure of his physical store, yet ability to operate remotely that would be secure and manageable and all staff clear on what they needed to do, should they have to leave the shop and office at late notice and work from home.
So how about you?
Shipping an issue for your business? Early sales planned? Offering vouchers for services rather than taking bookings? Investing in new technology to improve your online offer? What are you doing differently to account for the ongoing and ever-changing restrictions and challenges which COVID is presenting?
For more business-related conversations, ideas and tips, join my FaceBook tribe ‘Ambitious Business Owners’ – don’t forget to introduce yourself and your business!