Christmas Trading In The UK 2014

What a year for Christmas trading in the UK. Well for a small business like ourselves this year has become a game of tactics and meticulous order management. 

Last year the Christmas shopping rush started to kick in around the first week in November with a steady order influx peaking on the second week in December. We are a small firm of 6 staff making on-line jewellery to order. This means we don't have to keep vast amounts of stock, just component parts to make up when the orders come in. 

We download the orders in the morning then throughout the day as they come in. We like to keep a sage record and generate a sage invoice so really we duplicate some of the work re-typing the shopify invoice into sage. This could be automated but the methods we have tried don't really work that well.

Once the invoice is generated a job bag is written and passed onto the goldsmiths. The nearer we get to Christmas the jobs are prioritised into postal countries to ensure the jewellery is made in time to reach the mail for last Christmas posting overseas, in order of the cut-offs. 

"Americanism nightmare called Black Friday"

This year what we found got into our way and caused us logistical problems is the Americanism nightmare called Black Friday.Here is what happened to us. During the start of November we experienced more general traffic to the website but very few sales.

At the same time the UK press where talking about massive discounts on Black Friday. Last year the press mentioned this a few times but not like this year. So much was being said on radio, TV and newspapers and what happened is people just stopped buying. Full stop. November and no orders in any volume coming through. 

We had put ourselves in a good position to handle a good influx of orders. Nothing happened so with all the hype we took advantage of the unusually quiet period to put together a marketing plan using discount codes, buy it now items of our limited stock ready to jump on board with Black Friday. 

Black Friday Jewelry 

Bang - Black Friday Hit Hard, from word go the orders tumbled in complete with the hard hitting discount codes, clocking up 100 orders in 18 hours and still coming through. It was an amazing time with visitors to the site up 250 % on last year. After the weekend it began to calm down. So we now have 23 days left to make each piece, pack and mail in time for Christmas. 

My staff harmonised and clinically adjusted to the new very busy environment. A buzz floated in the air, the feeling of positivity was great. The next couple of weeks went like clockwork however the jewellers Geoff & Barny started to feel the strain of the late nights, weekend working and early mornings. Having to cram all the Christmas orders into 3 weeks instead of 6 is not good fun, it is a strain on our resources and manpower.

This has been felt throughout the UK - reports of Yodel stopping any new deliveries being placed so they can spend 3 days catching up. Amazon has been squeezed into overload taking on several thousand temporary staff - what a situation for trade in the UK - so as peoples buying habits change and media hype in full flow, what is the future of trade in the UK. 

Colds and flu-like symptoms came and went. Yesterday we finally took the afternoon off and all went to Brighton "we all got exceedingly drunk and had a great time". 

We are now on target to get the loose ends tided up on Monday and Tuesday and relax for a few days.

Happy Christmas from us here at BMG Jewellery


Written by Richard Soper CEO

BMG Jewellery