How To Prepare Your Store For Christmas
The holiday season is already on our doorstep so in the retail business we have to be sure that everything is prepared and topped off with a perfect red bow for the customers.
Seasonal changes may catch us by surprise, but there is always something you can do to improve the appearance of the store, the mood of your employees and to boost sales towards the end of the year. So this is what you need to take into account:
There are 3 main areas that require decoration for the winter holidays. Inside the store, at the entrance and the window displays. Since Christmas is the biggest and most awaited for holiday of them all, we recommend that you focus your decorations on it. You should keep it simple and use some evergreen branches, soft colored Christmas tree lights, garlands, various tree ornaments, wreaths and so on.
The color scheme used for the designs should be simple. No more than two usually. Either stick to the classic green and red, or go a bit bolder and use silver and blue, gold and red or green, purple and green, etc. Or if you want, you can try to create a rainbow effect in combination with the colors of your products.
If the window design is a problem, then you should check out our Creative Christmas Window Displays article for inspiration. We’ve found lots of displays that are easy to make and highly effective so you will most certainly find something for your retail store.
If you’re not convinced yet about the power of a pleasant visual experience for your customer read what Sofie De Beule had to say about visual story telling:
“Visual content has remained king throughout 2014 – especially during the holiday season when visuals are crucial to stand out. Visual storytelling doesn’t call for large budgets to achieve success. Simply telling a great story that will make people invest emotionally in your product can help gain retailers a strong edge over their competition. Consumers don’t simply buy a product, they buy an experience that makes them feel connected to the brand.
In order to deliver on an exceptional experience, you need to evoke emotions. The only way to appeal to people’s emotions is through a brilliant piece of storytelling. In general, combining visual content and storytelling is the perfect way to get your message across more quickly and concisely. Companies use visual storytelling to create awareness early in the buying process, which is why retailers greatly invest in visual storytelling during this period leading up to the big Christmas shopping hunt.” Source: Engagor
Any kind of sale, discount or other type of marketing strategy you may want to apply to your store must be advertised adequately. Use stickers, banners or any other thing that comes to your mind to make sure that your customers are informed about the products, offers and special discounts you’ve prepared for them.
Keep an eye open for the trends of the season and stock up on the products that you think might sell the best in this whimsical season.
“One of biggest factors of customer dissatisfaction is product unavailability, empty stocks or incorrect shipments. To meet customer expectations, retailers must upgrade their critical management capabilities and their entire supply chain for better visibility, control, accuracy, efficiency and flexibility.” FirstSource
Give a little incentive to your employees to get them into the holiday spirit and instruct them fully on any changes you want to make. This can make them more productive, focused and friendlier towards your customers.
Saying a simple “Merry Christmas!” or any other holiday greeting to your customers may change their shopping experience and make them want to buy more from your store. The Retail Doctor covers this specific idea and the possible outcomes in this article.
Last but not least, if you feel that your store might be taken by surprise you should hire some temps to ensure that you are well prepared for a bigger flux of customers.
Keep an eye on the competition:
This comes without saying that you should orient your store prices around those of your competitors, namely creating prices or offers so attractive that your customers won’t be able to help themselves and come into your store.
A random act of kindness can go a long way:
Give out some gingerbread, marshmallows or hot cocoa to your customers to make them feel appreciated, safe and warm in your store. If you think this idea is feasible you can add something extra in their shopping bags, a personalized thank you or season’s greetings letter, a small trinket or accessory, tie a bow to the shopping bag handle, offer loyalty cards or special loyalty offers or whatever your imagination cooks up.
You can create special events for your customers, personalized toys and many more, any attention you give to your customers will be noticed and can only help raise brand awareness and create a strong bond between brand and consumer.
Your online properties should be in sync:
Of course, it's important to be consistent so you should promote anything you do in your physical store in your online environment, this meaning, posting everything on social media, on your website, updating newsletters and maybe investing in Google Adwords. A best practice in this area would be to gather data on your customers especially if you have a website where you sell your products.
You need to ask yourself and be able to answer these questions: “What did you learn about your customers last year? Do you know when they bought from your website? Do you know which devices they used? Do you know the delivery option they chose? Do you know how much they spent?
Knowing the answers to these questions is crucial in planning a great Christmas campaign. Capturing the right data will give you a clear insight of your customers and help you personalize your campaigns to send the right message to the right individual. For example, if you know that some of your customers ordered their presents on your website in the last 2 weeks of November, it means they are early buyers.
Therefore, sending them an offer in December will be too late. They will have done their shopping at one of your competitor’s because they sent them the right offer at the right time. Knowing about your customers will help you always be one step ahead of your competitors.
Don't forget about your Christmas displays:
We've mentioned it before, but in case you skimmed it, we've selected a huge number of Christmas themed window displays you can browse, analyze and find the inspiration you need to create something in line with your store's branding, in order to bring more people into your store. You know what happened to Starbucks for not being Christmas-y enough...
If you lack the perfect mannequins for your displays, be sure to check out complete selection of display mannequins. For our beloved blog readers, we're listing here a 10% Off Coupon here that works on all our display mannequins - just use the code DSPL100 on the checkout and you'll see a 10% price reduction on all display mannequins. This code works even if specific mannequins are already under another site-wide promotion (don't you just hate those "You can't use a coupon on this product." errors?).
Make sure that you check everything on your list and that you create the perfect shopping experience for your customers in every environment you have available. We hope that you have an incredible Christmas and that your sales increase in this amazing season.
- George Blitzer