The weather’s getting colder, but the competition’s already heating up. Online retail SMEs are in the midst of launching their seasonal sales drives, a week earlier than last year, in a bid to capture Christmas customers.
Research by Royal Mail found that price promotion is the top tactic of choice this year, with 57% of businesses saying that they will use it. This was closely followed by free delivery, which 55% of SMEs plan to provide. Just over a third say that they will offer free returns.
SMEs that export expect to have a bumper year for sales, the study found. While only a minority of small businesses explore foreign markets, 51% of those that do say that they expect overseas sales to increase by 51this year, with over two thirds saying that these will make up a greater percentage of their total sales than in 2013. The USA was found to be the most popular destination for overseas sales, followed by France.
“Royal Mail has also been preparing for the busy festive period and is opening a dedicated network of parcel sort centres to handle the additional volume we experience every Christmas,” said Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels. The company will take on 19,000 extra staff to deal with the extra demand over the festive season.
Meanwhile, 9000 Christmas vacancies are still yet to be filled all across the UK, according to Adzuna. The seasonal job openings include 350 Father Christmases and 247 elves.