Helping your shop make the most of winter

Here’s a few ideas to warm up your sales figures in winter

Growth and strategy

10 October 2016

Food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, contributing £21.9bn to the economy.

However, the winter lull still represents a challenging period for the 96% of micro- to medium-sized businesses in the sector, and cash flow can be an issue.

Fortunately, being small also gives you the flexibility to find creative solutions, and we have some ideas to get you started.

Partnerships

You’re not the only one who’ll be looking to boost your bottom line during the winter months: look out for seasonal stock suppliers who may want to sell in bulk, as bargain buys could cut your costs. Businesses may also be keen to offer discounted trials if you promote their new or seasonal product.

If your focus is on boosting sales, keep an eye out for local entrepreneurs keen to open new links. For example, if you’re a bakery, café or sandwich bar you might consider corporate catering packages, or exclusive discounts for local business employees.

Events

Improve your visibility by attending trade events. A booth at one of the Country Living Christmas shows, for example, is a great way to drum up interest in gourmet and luxury products, while local fêtes and craft fairs are ideal if you’re keen to tap into the shop local movement.

If your area lacks events, start one. Groups like Totally Locally help continue the movement in towns across the UK, and you can always piggyback on national events like Small Business Saturday to increase reach.

Mood matching

Make sure that despite how miserable the weather is your customers still want to come to you. Play with your décor and offer new comforts to encourage them in, whether it’s patio heaters to expand your outdoor area, cosy corners or warm colour tones in your dining area or shop floor.

Simple on-street advertising like sandwich boards can help attract attention to your new ideas too – particularly if you can make your message go viral on social media.

Seasonal specials

Hearty foods and tasty treats can draw in crowds from the cold. Plan deals and dishes that fit with the public’s idea of winter eating, and keep their interest by changing them regularly. Offering something outside of your usual menu with limited availability creates urgency, and discounts incentivise browsers to buy.

Don’t forget to experiment with different marketing strategies to make the most of your new idea. The skills you pick up will serve you well in the busy summer months too.

And whether you opt for events or choose to invest in new ideas and equipment, make sure that you’re covered by your retail insurance policy.

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