Christmas and the shopping frenzy that surrounds it is fast approaching. I know it’s still only November, but as we have a festive edition of Product News I thought I’d add my festive tuppence ha’penny’s worth.

Christmas is an interesting time as you get some families that like to stock up with loads of goodies, draw down the shutters and hunker down for a week-long celebration.

Meanwhile, others like to get out of the house at the earliest opporunity Boxing Day sales anyone?

When writing a feature about Christmas trading for Forecourt Trader’s sister magazine Convenience Store there was a mixed response from retailers to opening on Christmas Day itself. Some said they never had done and never would. Others said they had in the past but now that more and more shops were opening over the seasonal period it wasn’t worth it any more. While another said Christmas Day was one of his best trading days. I suppose it all depends on location and your customer demographics.

However, as forecourts you have a more important role to play than fulfilling the need for some extra mince pies or tonic water. You’ll be providing the very fuel that gets a lot of these families to their far-flung relatives. So I’ll repeat the thing I say every year at this time of year, whatever your chosen opening times over Christmas and the New Year, please make sure they are displayed clearly. People will rely on you for their fuel inside the car and otherwise so give them a hand.

Also, if you don’t do this already, why not add a bit of festive cheer in your store? Lots of shops encourage their staff to wear silly hats and one retailer I spoke to even has a box of hats for such occasions.

I just think some reindeer antlers or a Santa’s hat could bring a smile to your frazzled shoppers’ faces.

Also, if you’re the boss, it might be a good time to show your face roll up your sleeves and get involved on the shopfloor. It’s good for staff and customer relations.

I’m sure many of you do this already but sometimes, when running a business in a challenging and competitive environment, you can lose sight of the little things like camaraderie on the shopfloor.