It seems that Christmas in July, sometimes called Half Christmas, started in a girls’ summer camp in North Carolina in 1933. The concept has become a celebration in a number of countries around the world, including Canada. Hallmark Channel runs Christmas-themed movies throughout July. Whatever you think of the idea, Christmas in July is a wakeup call for small businesses to begin preparations for the holiday season that begins in just a few months. Keep in mind that more than half (56%) of consumers began their holiday shopping last year in October, so there’s no time to waste.
Make your plans early
The sooner you begin to plan, the more time (and less pressure) you’ll have to put your plan into action. Be sure your plan addresses some key issues:
- What will consumers want? Mid-year 2023, consumers continue to spend money, despite inflation and no growth in wages. But will this be the story in December? Morning Consult has 4 lessons you might want to consider so you can anticipate customer buying habits in the upcoming holiday season.
- Will you need to hire seasonal workers? With the continued tight labor market, start recruiting early or find other ways to assist customers without added employees (e.g., some AI?).
- What will you spend on your marketing activities? Look at your budget and start thinking about your messaging.
Order your goods and supplies
While supply chain disruptions have eased considerably, ordering your holiday inventory and other supplies sooner rather than later makes sense in this inflationary environment. Will prices go down? Not likely. Buying now may be less costly than waiting…and you’re sure to have the items on hand you need.=
Plan for Small Business Saturday
Mark your calendar: Saturday, November 25, 2023, is Small Business Saturday. It’s the day after “Black Friday,” which used to be the busiest shopping day at bricks-and-mortar stores following Thanksgiving, but has since lost some steam because of online shopping. Started by American Express in 2010 and joined by the SBA in 2011, Small Business Saturday a day to shop local and support small businesses in your community. According to the National Retail Federation, there were 59.9 million shoppers on Small Business Saturday last year. Check early with your city or town for marketing materials being offered (usually for free) to help promote your business locally. Also obtain marketing materials from American Express, which usually becomes available early in the fall.
David Letterman said: “Halloween is the beginning of the holiday shopping season. That’s for women. The beginning of the holiday shopping season for men is Christmas eve.”
Whether you agree, or even find this funny, small business owners should not ignore the calendar and begin their holiday planning now.