The Register writer Makayla Wallace-Tidd talks about the Christmas shopping experience in the retail environment. What can consumers expect, and how are retailers catering to the needs of their customers?
As I approached the shopping centre from the bus stop, I saw more cars than car parks and I silently thanked myself for using the public transport.
The customers leaving the mall seemed exhausted and the those entering looked joyous. The happy ones didn’t know what was about to hit them.
I braved the shopping centre that has more options that you could think of, Sylvia Park.
It was December 7. Now, I honestly thought that it wouldn’t be that bad.
It’s as if the second the month name changes from November to December, a switch flicks over and everyone who needs to buy a gift crawls out from their space under a rock to flood the malls.
It’s the silly season for retailers, the time where they pull in a large percentage of their yearly revenue. Stores were being torn to pieces faster than the retail staff could put them back together.
As I walked down the centre of the mall, there were groups strolling four abreast, forcing me to fold like a Christmas tree origami and think to myself, “Please don’t touch me,” for the 10th time today.
The retail staff were run off their feet because of small incidents caused by consumers. Perhaps a mannequin had fallen down, or a child knocked over a glass. Whether it’s the Christmas spirit or the pure joy of overtime pay, the staff still had smiles on their faces and were ready to wait on me in an instant.
This is, for sure, a reflection of the retailer’s behaviour towards its staff. Looking after the health and wellbeing of your employees over the silly season is crucial to keeping sales rolling in and creating a returning customer base.
I had to think. Did I plan this out well at all? Should I have just taken the online option? I probably could have tracked down a coupon code to use.
There’s just something that always brings me into a physical store at Christmas time. Something that makes me want to be a part of the mad rush.
It could have something to with the fairy lights hanging from the roof, or the Christmas décor littering all surfaces, or it could be the terrible mall Santa. Whatever it is, it’s probably a part of the Christmas spirit.