Local businesses are more focused on retaining their sanity than making sales this festive season – though many are confident of improved revenue.
That's according to New Zealand accounting software provider, MYOB, which claims the seasonal workload is a bittersweet challenge for both business owners and staff in the busy weeks leading up to the holidays.
A survey of businesses across the country this month shows the key focus for the Christmas and New Year period for the majority (51%) is “getting through the workload with my sanity intact!”
Top focus areas for the remaining respondents included sales of products and services (7%), customer acquisition strategies (6%), and staffing levels (6%).
“It can seem tough just to make it ‘across the line’ to Christmas, especially with so many demands on your time and the break setting a deadline on getting many things done,” says Scott Gardiner, Executive Director, MYOB.
“It’s important to not lose sight of the opportunities to make sales and reach new customers, especially if you can do it in the most efficient and cost effective way possible: online.”
According to the survey, only 9% of local businesses have a special marketing campaign underway for Christmas, despite over 60% saying they could benefit from Christmas sales.
Further, only 9% have a website with e-commerce capability, while a further 9% have a website but are yet to enable e-commerce functionality. Of those businesses, 41% expect to make up to 10% of their sales online through this period, while 23% are forecasting around quarter of their sales to be made online.
“What was particularly surprising about the survey is how few local businesses are still to take advantage of e-commerce opportunities,” Gardiner adds.
“Unfortunately, this means they’re overlooking significant sales and marketing benefits, both to reach customers in an easy and cost effective way, and to ease the stress on themselves and their staff.
“Online sales is an area where we believe many local businesses are missing out – particularly against international competitors. You’ve only got to open your email to see how much fuss international retailers make of the online sales opportunities at Christmas.
“So, if you’re struggling to juggle all the demands, while maintaining your sanity over the summer selling season, why not see if adding a digital dimension will take some pressure off and provide great new opportunities in 2014.”
Despite the lack of online presence, the survey highlights most businesses will enjoy a solid Christmas.
“The survey is good news for local businesses and the economy,” Gardiner adds.
“With 29% expecting an revenue increase and 58% forecasting the same as last Christmas, we’re setting up for a happy New Year.”