Christmas in July events officially mark the beginning of the most lucrative time of year for retailers as they tempt journalists and bloggers to write about their wares.

Already we’ve heard from some of the major players such as Amazon, Tesco and John Lewis who have predicted what we will be splashing our cash on this year. Among alcohol, caviar and cookery gadgets are the latest speakers and Harry Potter collectables.

Advertising campaigns and instore theatre come together over the coming months to provide the awareness and experience necessary to entice shoppers.

To get your Christmas campaigns off to a flying start, here are some of the things you should consider now:

Embrace shopper appetite for discounts
Sales are creeping in earlier and earlier and accustomed shoppers have started to follow suit, expecting to bag a bargain by leaving Christmas shopping until the very last minute. This is reshaping the timing of campaigns, so consider where and how you could take advantage of the extra trading hours. And hold your nerve!

Don’t be caught out by the weather
Weather has a fundamental part to play in how people shop. Whether you crave or abide rain and snow will vary significantly by category. The unpredictability of the weather in the run to up Christmas in 2015 – a mix of mild conditions followed by storms and floods – became challenging for some retailers. Create deployable contingency plans to take account of weather changes.

Factor in Black Friday
The success of Black Friday in 2015 meant a tough season as consumers had less interest in buying in subsequent weeks, and many retailers felt forced to discount early and heavily to entice shoppers. Whether you take part or not, Black Friday has fundamentally changed Christmas shopping habits and the trading calendar. Retailers must plan accordingly; factoring in the fact that shoppers will be buying on the day itself as well as taking advantage of any extended sales.

Give shoppers a reason to go instore
The convenience and dynamism of online shopping continues to make ecommerce one of the biggest winners of the festive season. Give shoppers a reason to visit your physical stores – entertaining or educational events, price matching and first class customer service can all work in your favour. Inject festive fun into your shopping experience, people love the energy and excitement of shopping at this time of year.

It’s never too early to start planning your Christmas campaigns. If you’d like advice or support on how to make the most of one of the year’s biggest trading periods, please get in touch.

Sue Benson, managing director at The Behaviours Agency