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  • Writer's pictureUHY Haines Norton

Business and Christmas – the perfect match! -Steve Marsten

We have always loved Christmas. The carols; the decorations and the many catchups with staff, clients and friends and family. In many ways Christmas shapes the business year for many small businesses. It determines whether they're going to end up being profitable in any given year.

As customers, I we all enjoy the Sales season that comes as the special day draws closer. It’s the importance of year-end holiday sales that is clearly illustrated by statistics from the National Retail Federation:

- 20 to 40 percent of yearly sales for small and mid-sized retail businesses occurs in the last two months of the year.

- Holiday sales in 2017 were up 5.3 percent over the previous year and the largest increase since the 5.2 percent year-over-year gain seen in 2010 after the end of the Great Recession.

- Retail sales in the last two months of 2018 - excluding automobiles, fuel and restaurants - are expected to increase around 4.5%.

- Surveys indicate that consumers will spend an average of $1Billion, during the 2018 holiday season.

However, the holiday season is not just about increasing sales - it's also about connecting with the people around us, giving thanks and celebrating. So don’t forget the “giving” bit.

Finally, if you are a business owner, you can increase sales by remembering 5 key points:

1. Answer your phone. Some businesses in retail are having a call forwarding service that pushes the call to staff carrying mobile phones, so staff can excuse themselves and take the call hence they are not stuck behind the counter. Just make sure you and your staff answer with a smile - at all times.

2. Train your staff to listen to customers. There’s nothing worst then explaining what you want and the assistant is no paying attention to you.

3. Don’t promise anything you cannot deliver. This will only create angst with your customers.

4. Deal with complaints quickly. Empower your staff to fix things first and discuss later -unless it’s a major issue.

5. Give a little bit. Be helpful and talk to your customers even if they are “just looking”. Often a good experience will bring the customer back for a second look and perhaps a purchase.

At UHY Haines Norton, we can assist business’s look at ways to improve their top and bottom lines. Feel free to call the team on 0749 721300. Finally, we wish all our readers, clients and friends a safe and Merry Christmas and see you in the New Year!

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