SMEs nervous about Christmas period

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While Australian retailers may be on track to enjoying the best Christmas sales in seven years, a recent survey has found that around 80 per cent of small to medium enterprises felt unprepared for the online Christmas rush.

This year, Australian consumers are expected to spend more on Christmas gifts than in previous years, with the proportion of spenders rising to 16.9 per cent. In 2009, it was 12.5 per cent.

Those who usually plan to spend less over the Christmas period fell to 29.6 per cent, compared to the average 34.7 per cent since 2009.

However, research published this week show that the majority of Australian online retailers feel unprepared for the Christmas rush, in regards to handling delays and uncertainty with shipping.

High courier rates and offering multiple shipping options, such as same-day delivery and express options were among the key concerns of small retailers.

Since the holiday period comes with a set of unique challenges for online retailers, being prepared is vital to keeping customers happy and business operations running smoothly.

Working out how long it takes to pack and ship out products to customers can help determine the last date a business can sell online and deliver before Christmas. Knowing the peak number of orders that can be handled each day, how much stock will be needed is also vital.

Some online retailers may also want to consider planning out a return policy and arranging additional payment options specifically for the Christmas period.

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