The holiday season is about to start in earnest, which means that for most of us there will be many more shoppers in the store than normal.  All of our preparation — buying merchandise, hiring and training staff, creating displays and promotions — culminate in these busy few weeks of sales. To use a sports analogy, it’s game time!

Here are a few tips to help you have a winning season:

  1. Focus on creating an enjoyable shopping experience.  With so much emphasis on consumers wanting experiences rather than goods, this is your chance to provide both.  
  2. Make sure your checkout procedure is efficient.  No one has enough time during December, so don’t make your customers spend more minutes than necessary waiting to be served.
  3. Box or wrap gifts beautifully.  Your store wrap is part of your branding, and can be a great way to introduce your shop to potential new customers.  Make sure that your store name is featured somewhere on or in the package.
  4. Promote gift cards as great gifts.  Your shop’s gift cards, or gift certificates, are a one-size-fits-all gift that can be a great option when a customer isn’t quite sure what to buy.  Create a special presentation folder, box or pouch in keeping with your store’s image.
  5. Don’t focus too much on discounting and sales.  A shopper looking primarily for a low price is most likely already shopping online.
  6. Offer convenient pre-wrapped gifts and sets.  Save shoppers time and energy by offering some of your most popular items already wrapped. You can also make some extra margin by creating exclusive sets from merchandise you already carry.
  7. Emphasize locally-sourced products.  Make it easy for customers to see the items that are exclusive to your store.
  8. Treat your staff well. This is a stressful time for everyone, and a little extra appreciation goes a long way.  We take a page from the playbook of some sports teams by bringing in a masseuse the weekend before Christmas for staff chair massages. A team huddle now and then, especially before the busiest days of the season, can be a great way to fire up your staff — and to thank them for doing their very best.

Happy Retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder