Three ways to maximise orders this Christmas

10 August 2020, 08:52 AM
  • Get ready for the festive season by encouraging early orders, prepping staff and providing a quality service
Three ways to maximise orders this Christmas

The impact of Covid-19 forced many food and drink businesses to turn to click-and-collect or home deliveries in order to keep providing their products and services. With the run-up to Christmas 2020 already here, it’s time to plan ahead to ensure that you’re prepared for this busy season.

Enhance the customer experience
Being a reliable resource for customers is more important than ever, and now is the time to not only enhance your current offerings but also introduce something new if possible.

Bowhouse is a hub for artisan makers which before lockdown focused on monthly food and drink events. Produce is now available via the online shop, which manager Rosie Jack describes as a “virtual market”. Deliveries and collections have been arranged on a weekly basis, and for the run-up to Christmas an in-house butcher will be joining the lineup for the first time in order to give customers more choice. Rosie explains,

“In place of our Market Weekends, we started Bowhouse Link on the Open Food Network, which brings together a changing roster of producers under one online shop, like a kind of virtual market. We can then pack and arrange delivery/collection on a weekly basis. Orders have been consistent since its start in April and we are now combining this with physical events so that those who’ve placed an order with Bowhouse Link are given priority access to the market weekend. This is something we’ll continue to expand. In the past November and December have been our busiest markets and combining it with the Bowhouse Link online shopping area will only make it more powerful. This year we have our inhouse butcher in place for the first time and I expect Christmas to be particularly important for Butchery at Bowhouse.”

Encourage early ordering
With social distancing measures set to remain for the foreseeable, encouraging customers to pre-order Christmas food in plenty of time helps to avoid a crowded shop. This is one way that Macknade is preparing for the festive season, according to general manager Finn Dunlop. He says, “We are preparing to enhance the customer experience this year by actively encouraging fewer customers on the shopfloor at any one time and minimising the familiar congestion that we usually see during the period. Restrictions aside, we want to improve the experience for the customer and one way of doing this is to encourage the customer to start thinking of their Christmas shopping earlier and to order in advance, either for collection or delivery. This will reduce the last minute congestion and rather than a stressful one hour shop during Christmas week, it might be a 20 minute shop having already thought about the essentials. We are creating a complete Christmas shopping list which will prompt the customer to think in advance.”

Consider staff roles
With a busy festive season ahead, it’s all hands on deck for many businesses. Taking on additional seasonal staff helps to carry the extra load, but if that is not possible this year perhaps consider reworking the team to find the best possible fit for everyone. Encouraging staff to step outside of their normal roles to and contribute to any gaps in the ordering and delivery system could lead to the discovery of news skills and a stronger team.

Finn comments, “We always do take on additional staff for the Christmas period, and will do so again this year to accommodate the expected increase in orders. This might mean reallocating teams into different roles such as on the phones, in the stores and on collections / deliveries. However we will also be actively encouraging apprentices and trainees in a number of areas such as floristry, butchery and wines, facilitating changes in careers for some people. One real positive this year has been the development of the team through increased ability to crossover between roles. We have had chefs manning the phones, waiting teams on the shop tills and seen kitchen porters doing a great job of greeting all our customers at the door.”

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