Another Crazy Christmas! – Some Tips for Retailers

Tips for Retail at Christmas

Tips for Retail for Christmas

Writing a piece about retailing at Christmas should be quite straight forward you would imagine, but writing a piece that it is really helpful for retailers that have been through so many of them at this stage is a little daunting I must admit!

With a backdrop of recession and cutbacks, getting customers parting with their hard earned cash will be more challenging than ever but presents must be bought so let’s roll up our sleeves.

As part of the preparation for this article I decided I should ask my good buddy Mr Google for a little help and see what extra nuggets I could find that would definitely impress the experienced retailers out there.

If you Google “Tips for retailing at Christmas” you will be quite surprised with what you will find! My search actually took me to a website called www.christmastipsforretailers.com – can you imagine a website designated to just that topic!

In a way it’s not at all surprising seeing as the Christmas period accounts for a huge % of peoples revenue as well as a huge % of footfall. Even more important the festive period will bring a large number of “new” visitors who could well be trying out your store for the first time – what an incredible opportunity if you really think about it.

I will look at the tips under four broad headings:

Attract the customers into your store

Customer loyalty is as a result of the good work you have done throughout the year and will determine where customers will do their shopping when it comes to Christmas. However you have to do your utmost to attract them in and compete for their attention.

Database Promotions – this is where you use your databases, your invite lists, and your Facebook page for special offers, special customer nights and even Christmas cards as gentle reminders that you are open for business.

Wow Window displays – Christmas windows are really special and if possible push the boat out and really build attractive displays that grab customer attention. (I always get blown away by the window displays in London at this time)

While having an attractive window display is critical, remember that people need complete “solutions” with either their outfits or their gifts – be sure to put your best foot forward at all times with your most attractive and available stock.

Fresh – Have new merchandise arrive throughout the whole festive period keeping your store fresh and if not refresh and rotate the key displays so that the store feels new and vibrant.

Offers – Make sure your promotions are well displayed but in a tasteful way and in keeping with the overall store look and feel.

Clean and tidy store – Allow extra staff time each evening for cleaning, tidying and rearranging so that the store is looking the best as much as possible.

 

Look after the customer really well when they get there

Research has shown that at Christmas 60% of purchasing decisions are made within the store – once they come in your door make sure that happens.

Christmas is a Floor Show – One of the sites I visited referred to retailing at Christmas as being a “Floor Show”. The game is won and lost on the sales floor and this is where the staff and managers should be spending their time looking after customers, making sure that the part time staff knows what they are doing, spotting trends and sorting out issues – plenty time for the office work in the New Year!

Happy Team – Keep your team motivated and upbeat. Christmas is a happy time and cheery staff are vital for the business. It is your responsibility to keep them happy, plan a Christmas party, bring them coffee and treats and make sure you rotate them so that they don’t get too jaded as this will result in lost business.

Happy Customers – Make sure there is a good atmosphere in the store with nice scents and festive but not “too” typical music. Offering a festive drink or some sweets or treats can put the shopper in a very good mood.

 

Give yourself every chance of selling to customers and as much as possible

Once you have done the hard job of attracting people into your store you want them to do a lot more than browse and say thank you!

Make it easy – Shoppers want to maximise their time and minimise their decision making so make it easy for them by bundling and coordinating products, labelling them clearly and having relevant accessories within easy access.

Have a Top 10 or Favourites rail – Display the popular lines prominently making it easy for the customer to purchase with confidence.

Show people what to buy – Create displays with the specific solutions in mind such as mother’s gifts, party wear etc

The right staff – You need the right quantity of good staff to maximise your income at this time. Bring part-time staff in during the lead up to Christmas in plenty of time so they are sufficiently up to speed for the rush.

Speedy Gonzales – Have your quickest people on the tills and on wrapping duty – remember Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) in the store in the movie Love Actually!

Exchange policy and vouchers – make it as easy as possible for customers to buy by removing obstacles such as “What if they don’t like it?” objections.

Gift wrap – for the guys this is an absolute must as long as it doesn’t take too long and interferes with sales. Pre-wrap fast selling items where possible.

 

Entice them to return in the New Year

This is the one area that for some reason wasn’t covered in any of the websites, which really surprised me.

Accepting that many new customers visit your store in the Christmas period and many of the other shoppers may just be customers for special occasions, give them a special reason for returning earlier than expected.

New Year Initiatives such as invitations to a special VIP Customer “sale day” or a unique voucher that can be redeemed with purchases in the New Year might achieve this. Brainstorm ideas with your staff to encourage early New Year visits for customers.

Running competitions can be another clever way of building a fresh customer database at this time as long as it doesn’t create delays at the till!

I hope the Christmas tips have been helpful and serve you well into 2011 when we have to do it all over again, Merry Christmas!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

 

 

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8 Responses to “Another Crazy Christmas! – Some Tips for Retailers”

  1. Peter Fry Says:

    December will see people through your door that will probably not appear again if at all for some time to come depending on what you sell. December is THE best month of the year to grow a database of mobile numbers so you can send future promotions to by text and include your mobile website at the end. Everybody has a mobile phone, most within three feet of themselves 24 hours a day. Latest OECD stats released this week shows that a HUGE amount of people cannot get to the internet at home so forget the emphasis on your website, its a mobile website you need. As for Facebook and Twitter, ask 100 people how many have been on eitherin the past 24 hours and then ask how many have been on their mobile in the past hour! “Everything is going mobile and Google will consider mobile first in all future endeavours” were words proclaimed by the CEO of Google in Barcelona this year.
    Do you have a mobile website?
    A keyword to standard rate short-code for competition purposes in order to help create your mobile phone database

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Hi Peter.

      Good addition to the post – however I would qualify it by saying that nearly 50% of Social Media traffic is from Smart Phones – so .. embrace both I would say

      Greg

  2. miami Says:

    Regards for all your efforts that you have put in this. very interesting information.

  3. What is Rent to Own Says:

    I like this site shown and it has given me some sort of desire to have success for some reason, so thanks.

  4. Peter Fry Says:

    A Mobile website, period! Look at the ecommerce being done on mobile. People are doing their shopping before they shop. If you haven’t mobilised you are losing out….read Google’s “Zero moment of Truth” doc

  5. agnes lim Says:

    During my years as a retailer i picked up a very useful skill. I learnt that you can actually dictate the direction most customers will take once they enter your store – by the way you display merchandise inside.

    Most people are right-handed so they probably walk from left to right. Display smaller and inexpensive items nearer the entrance advancing to more pricey and bigger items at the end of the shop. You will find that the desire to know what is better coming up will make them move on. Even if a customer finds something he likes at the centre of the shop curiosity will get the better of him and he will want to walk through the rest of the row.

    Try it yourself and think, “when you walk into someone’s store what make you walk in the direction you chose?”

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