This week, we are pleased to welcome Georganne Bender and Rich Kizer as guest bloggers. They will be writing about holiday retail. Rich and Georganne are keynote speakers, author, consultants, consumer anthropologists who have assisted thousands of businesses in the retail, restaurant, hotel, death care and service industries since 1990.
The Fourth Quarter, also known as the Golden Quarter, is here and you cannot afford to miss it. Holiday retail is expected to bring in between 50 and 80 percent of the annual revenue.
The National Retail Federation reports that holiday retail sales increased by 5.5 percent in November and December 2017, compared to 2016. This was more than its projection of $678.75 billion to $682 billion. It is the largest increase since 2010, when there was a 5.2 percent gain year-over-year. This is a lot of money, and there are a lot more shoppers. To get your share of the holiday retail sales you must be prepared. These are some of the things you should consider when planning your Golden Quarter.
Keep an eye out for 2018 dates
Black Friday is this year on November 23rd, Cyber Monday is November 27th, and Saturday before Christmas will be the largest shopping day during the holiday retail season. According to the NRF, the 174 million Americans who shopped from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday last year spent on average $335 per person. Millennials, however, were the largest spenders with an average $419.52 per person. So…
Black Friday is the only day your store can be open
This is the kickoff to Holiday 2018. It doesn’t matter what product you sell or how big your store is, you must be there. We are not sure why some retailers close their doors on the largest shopping day of the year. You must play the game if you want to compete for a share of the holiday retail pie.
You might consider hosting a Create your Own Couponevent for Black Friday. Customers can choose what’s on sale. They choose the items, you choose the percentages.
Encourage customers to keep their receipts safe throughout the holidays as they can redeem them on Tuesday, December 11, for merchandise at your Cash Register Receipt auction. While shoppers are busy collecting receipts from November 23 to December 11 th, you will be busy collecting items for auction from generous vendors.
These receipts can be worth money. Customers who spend $500 within this time period will receive $500 in play cash to use at your auction. Your store will still be open to customers who purchase with real money after the auction ends. If your sales floor is full of people looking to buy, it’s a smart idea to allow them to shop with real money.
Cyber Monday is not to be ignored
Cyber Monday is a day that brick-and-mortar retailers can sell, even if they don’t normally sell online. You can offer specials on social media throughout the day. You don’t need to worry about shipping. Instead, you can opt for BOPUIS: Order Online and Pick up in Store.
BOPUIS allows you to post items for sale on Facebook and Instagram. You can also encourage your followers to order through comments on your posts. An invoice will be sent to you via email that can then be paid through PayPal or another similar payment method. It takes a little creativity – you are creative, or you wouldn’t be in retail.
You should be prepared to sell lots on the Saturday just before Christmas
Super Saturday, also known as Panic Saturday, falls on the Saturday before Christmas. It’s so close to Christmas that Saturday, December 15, will be another huge day. You should be prepared for large crowds on both Saturdays.
Some people rush to get their shopping done and let time slip away. Others wait until Super Saturday to take advantage of the deeper discounts. Open to buying is good so you should respond with sweet deals on items that you don’t need. It is almost impossible to store product until next year.
“Super Saturday” is also a great day to host a ‘We’ve Got You covered!event. This event offers pre-wrapped gifts and gift ideas for all ages. It also includes free gift wrapping.
Get Store Associates Ready
Hire additional staff for holidays. Make sure you start hiring early to ensure everyone is up and running before the holiday chaos begins. While we are on the subject of training, don’t forget to hold store meetings. To keep your team updated, schedule a brief meeting each Saturday before the store opens. Before you open the doors for business, meet up on the sales floor every day for a 10-minute meeting. Discuss what’s hot in the store. If you have the time, hold up an item and ask what other product can be added to increase sales. Each shift should be followed by a 10 minute meeting to ensure that all employees are on the same page.
A weekly Holiday email blast should be created that is targeted at your store associates. You can include information about what’s going on in the store, gift ideas, how to sell gift card, security, and other important details.
Security should be a regular topic. Shoplifting will happen over the holidays. But you can reduce it to a minimum by keeping your team informed. Thieves don’t like attention, so be attentive to customer service and make eye contact if you suspect someone of being a criminal. You should discuss customer service skills, how to spot theft and what to do when they shoplift. It is logical to have a plan.
You should set a daily sales goal. If you leave sales up to chance, you won’t be able to reach your goals. Set a monthly goal for sales and daily sales targets, even for specific products. Each associate must know what they are expected to do each day.
Display and presentation of Merchandise
While your displays should move customers throughout the store, 50 percent of your sales floor must be invisible to shoppers. Why is this? We tend to buy a product, then go home. Your displays should entice people to look around and stay.
You should create a plan of action that outlines what you will do and when. This could include monthly window displays, weekly speed bump displays and end features as well as merchandise outposts and impulse items at cashwrap. Also include after-holiday plans, such as required floor moves prior to December 26 opening and any decor that must be taken down.
Your windows and sales floor must shout HOLIDAY! The Golden Quarter is not business as usual. You can create a mood-altering atmosphere that encourages customers and keeps them coming back to shop. This includes perfume marketing, music played on the sales floor, demonstrations and even the clothes of your associates.
Place baskets and carts at key points throughout the sales floor. Get a basket or cart for a customer who is carrying too much product. Once they have finished with their shopping, people tend to give up.
Keep your Lake Front Property in Mind: Customers entering your store will first see the front, right, and left areas. These areas are the starting point for what customers will find in the store.
Your speed bump displays should be placed front and center. These tiny fixtures, which we love stacking tables, are used to stop customers by offering new and interesting merchandise. You can load your speed bumps full of gift ideas, pre-wrapped gifts and cross-merchandise when you can. You don’t have to sell one item when you could sell several.
Clearance merchandise should be kept at the back of your store, unless you have a clearance sale, which would be strange during the holiday selling season. You can have your end-of-the year clean up sale.
Plan for impulse purchases at your cashwrap. Your cashwrap should be considered an important display space. You can fill it with stocking stuffers such as jewelry, accessories, candles and other items that appeal to impulse shoppers. A sign should be placed recommending gift cards. Also, spinner racks can be found near cash wrap. Don’t forget holiday gifts!
Signing in-store is a crucial part of turning shoppers into buyers. During the holidays, men are more likely to rely on signs than women. You will likely have more male shoppers during the holidays than usual, so you should help them. CLICK TO TWEET
There are three key areas to sign in, depending on the size of your store:
Zone One SignsTo direct shoppers in the store, they are located high above the shopper’s eyes. The Zone One sign generally includes both directional and departmental signs. These signs make it easy to find what shoppers are looking for.
Signs in Zone 2They should be hung at eye level. These signs include event and promotional signs. They are only meant to be hung for limited time.
Three Zone SignsTo highlight important information, the text is placed at eye level so that customers can make informed purchasing decisions. Eye level, also known as “buy Level”, is approximately 5’4″ above the floor. This is the average height for a woman.
Respond to womenStorytellersSigns that use “imagine” to connect customers with productImagine your little ones cuddled up under a quilt made by you.. Men respond well toProduct sellerSigning is important because it highlights the product’s features. All the information is right there. Zone Three is a great place to put product brochures or other point-of-purchase materials.
Increase your advertising and marketing efforts
During the holidays, your advertising and marketing efforts should be more extensive. You can choose the ad vehicle that you use, but it is time to increase the number ofEmail blastsCustomers expect more offers during holidays, from one to two per month to three to four per month. You can talk about products, give gift ideas, or announce the Item of Week. You can track the effectiveness of your coupon by adding a date and expiration. It is also important to have a monthly newsletter that contains gist ideas.
“Create and distribute a weekly newsletterBag StufferIt can be a special advertisement, class calendar, gift ideas or even POP materials from a vendor. You can use it as a class calendar, special advertisement, gift ideas, or even POP material from a vendor. How you get bag stuffers into the hands of customers is the key. You are not going to make a lot of money if you plan to stuff them in bags. Instead, tell associates to give the bag stuffer to customers and explain what it is all about. The customer will hear firsthand all the great things happening in your store. It’s a 15-30 second free commercial!
“A bag stuffer should be one of these: Brag Sheet This list will include all your services and conveniences, where you can be found on social medias, frequently-asked questions, and major brands that you sell – whatever makes sense to you. Print the backside of your class or event schedule.
“Create a Top 10 Holiday Gifts. A list should be made for each age group and every product category that you sell. It can be added to your website or email blasts. Each associate should have a copy and they can carry it with them.
“For the majority of consumers Facebook It’s still the preferred social media platform so it’s a great place to advertise.
Facebook ads are a good choice because you have complete control over where and how much your ad is displayed. You can target exactly the people you want, and you can change, pause, or terminate your ad midstream if it isn’t working as you expected. Spend at least $2.00 per day on Facebook advertising.
“Increase your use of Holiday-related hashtags– #Christmas and #Hanukkah #holidays, #gifts #coupons #Santa, etc. All of your social media posts. This will allow you to connect with potential customers who are far more than your existing followers.
Gift cards are a lucrative business idea
“If you’re still selling gift certificates in paper, it’s time for the plastic version. Research shows that gift card sales increase by 35-50 percent when retailers switch from selling paper gift certificates to plastic cards. It is important to get customers into your store in order to redeem the card. Plastic cards make it easier for customers as they can be easily carried around in their wallets.
More: 61% of customers spend more that their gift cards allow, 75% spend more than their card’s value, and 55% of gift card recipients need to make more than one trip to the store in order to use their remaining gift cards. They are more likely to purchase something the more often they visit your store.
If you offer a sweet deal, people can easily be enticed into spending more on gift cards. Buy $25 gift cards and get a $5 gift certificate for free. Or, buy $50 gift cards and get a $10 bonus cardpromotion. These bonus cards can’t be used to buy holiday gifts, so make sure you don’t wait until January 1, 2018. It’s hard to resist getting something for yourself, especially if it’s free.
Your gift cards should be packaged in a way that is unique and represents your brand. Gift cards might be presented in baby bottles decorated with ribbons by a children’s shop; gift cards for an apparel store might be placed in beautiful boxes lined with scented paper. Be creative!
Events and Promotions
We hope you will have at least one event for each week during the Golden Quarter. This includes non-stop traffic-building, profit-producing, attention-grabbing, sales-generating, competition-miffing, customer-winning retail events and promotions(tm), like our Guys Night Out, the 12 Days of Christmas, and 50% off coupon event. Also, see the previously mentioned Create your own Coupon Sale and Cash Register Receipt auction. __S.156__ __S.157__ You can even make it more exciting by sending us an email with GOLDEN QARTER in your subject line. We’ll send you all the event templates, plus many others. There’s no reason to not host great in-store events that your customers love.
You should be prepared for markdowns and returns
You will need to get your store rid of any remaining holiday merchandise by December 26th. Keep in mind that the cheapest markdown is always the best, so take a deep breathe and decide what price to sell.
Your return/exchange policy should be included in your signing program. It should be posted in a prominent place at cashwrap. You can also add it to the FAQ page of your website. Encourage associates to ask customers politely if they would like to shop around for something before issuing refunds. You can also suggest a gift certificate that the customer can use later. If the customer asks for a refund, smile big and say “Please come back to shop with us again!”
You have a long list of holiday tasks to do, probably as big as your perimeter walls. But you must make one and work through it item by item. Keep good records to make next year’s planning easier. You already know that Holiday 2019 planning begins the day after Christmas…
KIZER & BENDER contribute to MSNBC’s television show Your Business. __S.174__ PR Newswire Media named their award-winning Retail Adventures blog the Top Retail Blog and it is regularly listed amongst important small business and retail blogs. KIZER & BENDER serve as partners and emcees at the Independent Retailer Conference, which is held every ASD Market Week. They were recently appointed official correspondents to the Shop.org Digital Retail Conference by the National Retail Federation.
Rich and Georganne are experts in generational diversity, consumer trends and marketing and promotion. KIZER & BENDER can talk about consumers. Their research involves not only conducting yearly focus groups but also one-on-one interviews and extensive on-site studies. They even pretend to be every customer you could imagine. Their research yields solid ground-level intelligence that you can use to better service your customers.