With Christmas and New Year just around the corner, the holiday season is upon us. While the pandemic still looms over many parts of the country, businesses are allowed to operate in full swing again. Holiday sales are expected to grow up to 10.5% from 2020 – signalling a critical time ahead for retail.

For F&B businesses, this period is an opportunity to turn a profit as food is central to the festive season and will be in demand. The F&B industry has changed a lot since 2020, having to adapt to market changes and overcome challenges brought by the pandemic. As consumer behaviour continues to shift, careful holiday planning is needed to make this season a success.

Here are some holiday planning tips to help F&B businesses prepare for and make the most of the festive season.

7 Holiday Planning Tips for F&B Businesses

#1 Stock Up on Extra Inventory

There’s nothing worse than having to turn away new customers because you’ve run out of inventory. As the holidays are such a busy time, be sure to prepare ahead of time to meet the high traffic volume.

Stocking up on extra inventory is especially important at this time because anything can still happen in a pandemic. And with the supply chain bottlenecks that happen every MCO, you want to play it safe and be prepared with enough inventory.

Some top tips to prepare your inventory:

  • Check last year’s orders to get a close estimate of the number of supplies you need for the holidays.
  • Order 5% extra stock in case of emergencies like product damage or unfulfilled delivery.
  • Stock up on holiday-specific supplies like packaging and seasonal decorations.

#2 Launch Holiday Products

Christmas or any other holidays are special because there are food items that we can only enjoy during the festive period. F&B businesses can profit from this by launching holiday-themed products that meet the consumers’ demands.

Christmas-centric products to include in your catalogue:

  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint-flavoured food or drink
  • Gingerbread cookies
  • Eggnog
  • Yule log cakes
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Gravy
  • Apple cider

#3 Optimise Your Online Store

There has been a shift towards online shopping across all retail sectors. If you haven’t taken the digital leap, now is a good time to start as your customers will appreciate the convenience of online shopping during the holidays.

Already have an online store? It’s more important than ever to update your online store with the latest products and promotions. You must also prepare to accommodate an influx of traffic over the next few weeks.

Here are a few questions to ask in preparation for the holidays:

  • Is my online store easily discoverable?
  • Can my customers find the products they want easily?
  • Is the interface user-friendly and easy to use?
  • Are my business information (e.g. contact information, address, FAQs) up-to-date?
  • Can my customers check out smoothly?
  • Are my terms and conditions updated with shipping, returns and special pricing policies?

Run plenty of tests throughout this period to ensure that everything is running smoothly and lay out a plan for what to do in case of challenges.

#4 Get a Handle on Shipping

Business owners were no stranger to shipping and delivery woes over the last two years. Delivery delays may be a common struggle in the pandemic, but you can minimise them by preparing well and diversifying shipping options. 

Shipping best practices include:

  • Fulfil orders in-house for greater control of the shipping process,
  • Choose the right carrier with a variety of services that cater to your needs.
  • Offer the ‘buy online, pick up in store’ option to customers.
  • Outsource shipping to a third party for volume orders.

By diversifying your shipping methods this way, your fulfilment would not completely crumble should one option fail, as there are others to make up for it. At the same time, you should provide options to your customers who will be buying more in the holidays.

Some perks to consider adding:

  • Real-time order tracking.
  • Free shipping for a minimum spend.
  • Same-day or next-day shipping.

#5 Get Creative with Promotions

Consumers shop a lot during the holidays – whether it’s to buy gifts or to prepare for parties. Naturally, your customers will be anticipating promotions and sales.

Why not do something fun to get in the spirit of the holidays? Get creative with your holiday promotions to encourage customers to buy more. 

Some creative holiday promotions you can run:

  • ‘12 days of Christmas’ themed sale.
  • Holiday giveaways.
  • Virtual advent calendar coupons.
  • Online photo contest.

#6 Provide Quality Customer Service

Quality customer service should be a top priority in your holiday planning as anything can go wrong during the peak shopping period. Your staff and online customer support should be prepared to address complaints and offer solutions to issues the customers are facing.

Transparency on shipping delays and quick responses to questions are just some of the best practices. But personalisation will also go a long way in improving the customer experience and encouraging loyalty.

If you have an online store with data on your customers’ buying habits, you will already know what products they prefer. Using the data on hand, you can tailor offers and suggestions to your customers’ preferences. 

To improve the customer experience, you can offer:

  • Exclusive offers to regular customers.
  • Personalised discounts and promotions.
  • Personalised product suggestions.
  • Exclusive gift redemptions.

#7 Help Customers Donate to Causes They Care About

The holidays are a time for giving – and your customers will be looking to give back where they can. Why not help them do just that?

Identify an NGO to partner with or choose an organisation to donate to. Once you’ve chosen a cause to support, you can start collecting donations for it. 

Businesses can give back by:

  • Allocating a portion of profits to donations.
  • Offering customers the option to donate at checkout.
  • Curating essential products to donate that customers can pay for.

Proper holiday planning is essential to ensure that the season runs smoothly, and you can maximise sales for your business. 

With that said, it’s important to note that the holidays are far from the last key event that will need extra preparation. You need to get yourself covered for the future by digitising your business, automating tasks and streamlining processes. And Dropee can help you with that. 

Head to Dropee Marketplace to stock up on what you need at the best prices!


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