It’s the most wonderful time of the year – or should that be ‘the busiest’?

For UK retailers, Christmas is packed with opportunities to market, sell and build exciting new customer relationships. And with the likes of Black Friday and Cyber Week fast becoming a standard part of British consumer culture, those opportunities are only going to grow.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Revenue growth for the season may be rising 18% year on year, but the only way you’ll be a part of that growth is if you take the time to prepare – thoroughly. 

It may sound a little daunting, but with your Christmas readiness calendar, you’ll know exactly when and what you need to do to see-in your most successful season ever…


📆 What to do in September

By the time you read this September will have been and gone. So, if you’ve already actioned the following, give yourself a big pat on the back – you’re off to a great start.

If not – don’t fret – there’s still time to catch up.


1. Boost your SEO

41% of consumers kick off their holiday shopping in October or earlier. Why not drum up excitement among these early birds with some ‘sneak peek’ and ‘coming soon’ pages? Better yet, it’s a great way to flex your holiday keywords early.


2. Map out an email strategy

Evaluate your email templates, messaging and frequency. Then check you’re optimised for mobile – during the Christmas shopping season, somebody seeing the right message at the right time can make a world of difference. 


📆 What to do in October

Did you know the majority of consumers will happily share preference data with a brand to receive faster and more convenient service in-store?

With that in mind, it’s time to get smart about the data you collect and use it to drum up excitement with personalised marketing your customers will be glad to receive. 


1. Launch your holiday gift guides

Let’s face it, Christmas shopping is tough. So, lend a hand. Create targeted gift guides and give your shoppers a well-informed nudge towards the right gifts for the right people.


2. Enact a progressive profiling campaign

Where appropriate, prompt your customers with more offers for deeper engagement such as “Sign up for email” so that you can better target your Christmas advertising campaigns. And if you’re feeling particularly cheery – why not draft some personalised Merry Christmas emails to send out on Christmas morning? 


📆 What to do in November

Christmas time is fast approaching. Your customers are ready to spend, and if it’s anything like 2017, at least 39% of all transactions will be mobile.

November also sees the arrival of Cyber Week which generated 33% of the entire season’s revenue in 2017. Here are three things to remember as the festive spending really kicks off…


1. Keep on optimising

Are your promotions performing as expected? Are you making real-time adjustments to maximise sales? Do your customer service teams have pre-drafted responses ready to handle any potential hiccups? As November rolls on, don’t take your eye off the ball.



Settle on a hashtag to use across your seasonal campaigns. This way, monitoring customer posts – both good and bad – becomes an autumn breeze.


3. Let your people rest

This is a marathon, not a sprint. Hire more people if you have to – just ensure your employees get the time and rest they need to be their very best.


📆 What to do in December

It’s time to give your last-minute shoppers some peace of mind. Broadcast your free shipping cut-offs and let them know that extended shipping is there if they need it.

No doubt your customers will have plenty of gift cards and holiday money to spend after the 25th, so be sure to keep on nurturing your best performing tactics.


1. Countdown to shipping cut-offs

Create a sense of urgency and drive conversion by clearly stating the remaining days you’ll ship for free. You’ll also want to consider an extended shipping promotion so those who miss the rush don’t miss out altogether.


2. Learn – and apply your new knowledge

Is there a design element or CTA that’s converting more shoppers than the others? Identify your best-performing tactics and use them to promote your lower-priced goods as last-minute gift ideas or ‘stocking fillers’. It’s a great way to shift excess stock, and sub-£20 items typically sell better in December.


📆 What to do in January

It’s not over yet. In 2017, January 10th marked the month’s peak orders, with in-store visits peaking on the 26th, making it the ideal month to prove you were listening throughout the holiday season.


1. Don’t pester, personalise

With any luck, you’ll have amassed a healthy list of content subscribers over the Christmas period. Make sure you reward them for their generosity with their data – with personalised content that’s relevant and timely. 


2. Have a Yuletide post-mortem

You’ll also have gathered a lot of seasonal data. Embarking on a deep-dive analysis with your team won’t just help you identify what worked and what didn’t, it’ll create an opportunity for honest peer-to-peer feedback.


Complete all these monthly tasks, and your business should be well-positioned to smash through your seasonal sales goals. For more expert advice and game-changing insights check out our comprehensive 2018 Holiday Readiness Guide today.