This year it’s going to be harder than ever to sell the whole shebang, i.e. all of the inventory you’ve brought in for the holiday season 2020.  With a limited number of in-store shoppers, and an economy suffering from the effects of COVID-19, most of us are going into the 4th quarter with lowered expectations.  

But one way to move merchandise is to take inspiration from another quaint phrase used to define shebang: kit and kaboodle.   “Kit and kaboodle” originally referred to a soldier’s kitbag, which would contain everything he needed.  (Boodle, or kaboodle, apparently meant a collection of people or things.)

This year presents a special opportunity to put together kits that will have everything someone needs on a certain theme.  We’ve seen customers do this when they shop in person – assembling a gift of loaf pans, oven mitts and kitchen gadgets for someone who loves to bake, or a unicorn puppet, book and package of stickers for a little girl who enjoys fantasy play. 

We plan to preassemble some gift boxes on popular themes and offer them for curbside pickup. They could either be a kit based on the recipient’s interests, or a gift expressing a sentiment or feeling. Indulgence gift boxes, for example, could feature items from our bath and body department.  A home for the holidays set might have cocoa, Christmas tree ornaments, and a Frasier Fir candle.

One fun one will be a COVID-themed set with an Old World Christmas face mask Santa, a Dr. Fauci figure from Silk Road Bazaar, locally-made hand sanitizer and a key that allows people to avoid touching door handles.  Another will be a Wisconsin-themed set including some of the items that are exclusive to our store such as a Madison hot pad by Daisy Mae Designs and a Wisconsin wire serving bowl from Mira Fair Trade.  

We know that our customers are price sensitive, and that even though they might spend over $50 on a gift that they put together themselves, I suspect they’ll balk at a high priced set.  It will be interesting to experiment with this – and also with packaging and gift wrapping.  Since we’re doing curbside pickup instead of shipping, we have more flexibility in this regard. We want to make sure the gift is attractive, perhaps using a consistent color palette to unify the combined items. Adding a sticker or ribbon with our store name will help promote our brand.

Putting together curated gift sets is an opportunity to use the last one of an item, or to move a slow seller by bundling it with more popular merchandise.  The important thing is to make sure that the kit is a good value.  You want to be sure that the customer – and the gift recipient – are both delighted with the result.

Happy Retailing,
Carol “Orange” Schroeder

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