Christmas and New Year aren’t only the busiest times of the year for the food and beverage industry, it is also the season when consumers spend big bucks on gifts, gadgets, and of course, food.
December is a huge month for dining out - whether its to take clients out for an end of year lunch, staff Christmas parties, a respite from shopping, catching up with friends before the year ends, or the big influx of tourists that visit destinations all over Australia for a summer holidy. In other words, Christmas/New Year is a boom period for restaurants, cafes, and wholesalers/suppliers alike. Figures from last year’s pre-Christmas spending forecasts from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan Research predicted 5.7% growth for the hospitality category as Aussies increased their patronage to bars, restaurants, and fast food chains during the festive season.
With that in mind, there’s no better time to up your marketing game and come up with a holiday sales strategy. Don’t worry, you still have enough time. Below, we’ve put together some easy-to-implement tips to help boost your festive sales.
Make everything easy for your customers: Cafes, bars and restaurants are the busiest during the Christmas period so it’s essential that you make life as easy as possible for them to guarantee they will order from you and not from other suppliers. Our recent survey shows that retailers are likely to repeat business if ordering is convenient and if they have a positive experience while transacting with a supplier.
To make ordering easy, you can either put up an online store with a smooth checkout process or leverage an ordering app/system that allows customers to place both their orders and payments anytime and anywhere they want using their mobile phones.
Ensure you don’t run out of stock: Retail venues like cafes and restaurants will be jam-packed with hungry customers this festive season so expect that hundreds more orders will also come your way. Prepare for that by stocking up. If possible, it’s best, too, that you know what supplies your customers want to order for the holidays and focus on those. Ask your customers in advance what they think their needs are going to be - they know their market best.
According to retail consultant Ted Hurlbut, the products that sold best from September to November are likely to be the same items that will boost your sales in December. "These are items that customers have demonstrated they want to buy from you and that you simply can't afford to run out of before the season ends," Hurlburt says. "Shift your focus from being fully assorted to being narrow and deep by identifying those key items."
A great tip for this is to utilise an inventory system. An inventory management tool will give you a real-time view of your stock levels (even across different warehouses) so you know if you’re running out of stock or your are over supplied. Remember, it’s also important to not have excess inventory as that will be a waste of money and resources.
Highlight your holiday products: There’s no better time to upsell and cross-sell your products without being too pushy than in the festive season. If you own an online store, create a special page where all your holiday products will be showcased. If you’re using an ordering app, highlight your Christmas cookies, holiday coffees blends, etc. in your interface so customers can easily see them.
Most ordering apps today can also act as a digital catalogue where you can promote your Christmas deals and offers, helping you maximise your sales over the busy season.
Roll out holiday promos and discounts: This is a smart way to attract customers, whether new or existing. Introduce special offers and deals to guarantee you’ll get more money coming in at this time of the year. You could choose to give away discount vouchers, buy-one-get-one-free offers, or provide free delivery services for specific days. It’s also a good idea to come up with exclusive offers for your most loyal customers to let them know how much you value them and to increase their likelihood of doing more business with you.
Promote on social media channels: Apart from your own website and ordering app, social media channels are also the perfect platforms to showcase your holiday products. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can reach a wide audience, plus, they are free to use. All you have to focus on then is your content and the best times to post them. If you’re struggling to find the time for social media, you can make use of scheduling apps like HootSuite or Agorapulse.
Make sure you have enough staff: A lot of retail orders will be flowing in, so make sure you have the right amount of people to take care of them. Of course, you don’t want to leave a bad impression on your customers simply because you can’t answer their calls, take their orders, or deliver their supplies by the date they have chosen.
Though if having enough staff working for the holidays sounds impossible since it is also the most popular time for people to take a break, automating some of your admin tasks means you can still continue running the business even when short on staff. An order management system like Ordermentum can also help you with this. Dedicated ordering apps like Ordermentum have the ability to automate your order taking and generate accurate invoices and pick slips automatically. This can save HOURS of your time, meaning you're under a lot less pressure when staff are away. Want to learn more about how Ordermentum can help you? Click here.
The Christmas season may be the busiest time for food and beverage business, but it’s also the most lucrative. So before it’s too late, roll out a good holiday sales strategy and consider taking the easy-to-implement tips we’ve listed above to give your business a real boost in sales. If you know other methods that you think can also help others increase their revenue at this time of the year, don’t hesitate to share them in the comments section below.
Get more great advice for food and beverage businesses like this when you head on to our blog!