For Farm Shops, Delis and other Independent Retailers, customers Christmas orders are not just an assured source of income – They are very much more powerful than that.

Reason no. 1 Good cash flow (always take deposits)
Reason no. 2 Recruits for your loyalty scheme
Reason no. 3 Allows you to contact people who ordered last year and get them to reorder, building up turnover, your reputation for service and customer loyalty
Reason no. 4 It inspires other customers to value you more if the customer in front is placing orders
Reason no. 5 The supermarkets want your customer – don’t let them have them. They are much much better at advertising than you. That is why they take more in an hour than you will in a week.
Reason no. 6 It gives you ways to sell short life products throughout the season when they can’t (yet) collect
Reason no. 7 When they come back to collect they will buy more
Reason no. 8 It helps your stock planning and pre-figures unusual demand
Reason no. 9 Prevents disappointing customers when you run out, and you need to run out
Reason no. 10 Speeds up service at busy times, getting more customers through the door
Reason no. 11 Allows you to talk about Christmas when it’s not (yet)
Reason no. 12 Is content for social media and newsletters
Reason no. 13 Gets people to sign up to your online services
Reason no. 14 Can be tied to promotions to increase sales and/or get discounts from suppliers
Reason no. 15 Allows you to sell products you don’t want to carry stock for
Reason no. 16 Allows you to run a make-to-order range, such as whole hams, ready meals, gravadlax or Christmas cakes
Reason no. 17 Allows you to better schedule availability for products that are difficult or risky to stock
BUT MOST OF ALL:
Reason no. 18 It Guarantees they will shop with you. I know you think they will, but some of them won’t. Don’t take that risk.

There are more reasons, but if the above is not going to persuade you, you are set in your ways.

So how do you do it? Customer orders are actually really quite hard to do well, which is probably why stores avoid them.