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Is your business ready for the festive season?

While it feels like we’ve only just waved goodbye to summer, the festive season is fast approaching. In fact, as of tomorrow, 16 September, there’s exactly 100 days until Christmas.

No, don’t freak out. As a small business, this is the perfect time to ensure you’ve got your technological ducks in a row to cope with the anticipated increase in sales – spanning from Halloween to Black Friday to the January sales.

Here are a few things you can do to prepare for the festive season today:

Start by reviewing your 2016 performance. It’s important to examine your sales data to understand which products were popular, when the busiest periods were and what performed less well. A more holistic review of any pain points will help you prepare even better. Do you need to start online advertising earlier? Or instate a cut-off point for international orders?

If you have a physical presence, ensure all of your online business listings are up to date with extended opening hours, accessibility, etc. According to Google’s Consumer Barometer, when looking for answers, 82% of people turn to search engines, but they often have a hard time finding accurate, up-to-date information.

Or perhaps you’re planning a pop-up? Make sure there’s a way for people to sign up to your newsletter and stay in touch. We like the combination of a signup form on a tablet which directly delivers new contacts to your email list. Providers like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor will quickly allow you to set this up. (For more pro pop-up tips, read Goodordering’s recent guide.)

Make sure your mobile is up to the job. A timely upgrade to a new phone ensures you have the power and capacity to run your business without any downtime or lagging. And should the unexpected happen and your mobile screen breaks (oops), we’ll replace it for free.

Is your website optimised for browsing on tablet and mobile? As well as being an essential element of SEO, sales made on smartphones drove growth, up 47% YoY in December 2016. While you’re at it, it’s worth testing your site and hosting package to ensure it will be able to cope with extra traffic.

Finally, have a backup plan. Something will go wrong, usually when you least expect it. We recommend keeping copies or any important files or documents in the cloud, for secure back-up and file-level encryption. Your team will also be able to access and edit them if needed – particularly if you’re all working in different locations.

Need a final nudge to make festive preparations the top of your to-do list? Last year, between 13th November and 24th December, £25bn was spent online in the UK – making it an opportunity you can’t afford to miss.

Here’s to a prosperous trading period!

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