'Tis the season for selling more - tops tips on how to deal with Christmas

  • Opinion
  • October 14, 2016
  • Fiona Kerr
'Tis the season for selling more - tops tips on how to deal with Christmas

He’s making a list, and checking it twice.

There’s 10 Fridays left until Christmas!

Yes, you read that right. 10 Fridays.

Yay! Christmas is my favourite time of year. The sounds, the smells, the sun (I've always been a summer Christmas gal), the food, the happiness that flows through people and (of course) the shopping!

There's nothing more exciting than having an absolutely legitimate excuse to spend hours (and hours) shopping! Plus, there’s a magical feeling about all things Christmas – from the gift searching, to the ribbons and wrapping, to the obligatory bubbles on Christmas morning.

If you haven't sorted Christmas out by the time you read this, I've got bad news for you.

It's too late. Grab an eggnog and relax, because you're screwed.

Better yet, start planning for next festive season so at least you'll be ready. Many retailers generate a large proportion of their annual revenue in a relatively short period at Christmas, so it’s vital to be organised to ensure you can maximise turnover. In December 2015, New Zealanders spent a record $6 billion shopping. It’s the highest ever monthly figure recorded by Statistics New Zealand. 

Getting ready for Christmas shouldn't be a chore. It should form part of your annual promotional planning – but it should start much (much much) earlier.

Here's my top 6 tips for retailers to make the Christmas period successful:

1.      Plan early - This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how late some retailers leave it. Why bother? Well, planning early means that you have more control, better pricing, fewer mistakes and adequate time to maximise what you get out of the season.

2.      Ramp up your marketing - Christmas is a bloody busy time, and consumers are bombarded with much more than the average number of messages. Therefore, you’ll need to make sure your message is getting through. Whether that’s mass media or direct, you need to get in front of your customers and get their attention (or your competitors will). Use information available and your own data to find them, and give them a reason to choose you.

3.      Stock control - Get the right products on the shelf at the right price so you’re able to sell through. To order the right quantities of product, use data from the previous year to see what sold. Test smaller quantities of new ranges to see if they work (one of my favourite Kmart strategies) and see what your suppliers can do about short run delivery cycles. It's that balance between having enough stock to ensure you don't run out, and not getting so much in that you’ve got lots left over. No one wants to still be seeing Christmas stock in Easter (it highlights poor stock management, and can damage the consumer’s perception of you.)

4.      Make it feel like Christmas - It may seem like a bit of a waste spending lots of money on Christmas stuff that's thrown away in January, but it does make a difference. Using simple logic, the more time shoppers spend in store and the happier they feel, the more likely they are to buy more. Music, POS, displays, communications and even friendly staff all contribute to the ambience, and can increase average basket size over the Christmas period. If you don't have big budgets, try making small changes such as themed ticketing, staff wearing Christmas hats, and gifting displays for quick selection.

5.      Leverage rewards to stand out - There's no better time to encourage customers to redeem/earn rewards than over the festive period. Loyalty providers like Fly Buys see redemption rates skyrocket over the festive season as people look to maximise the programme. Retailers that both encourage and add to their rewards programmes over this period will win – firstly because, who doesn't like a bargain, and secondly because it's an opportunity for growing your database and communicating with customers well after the silly season is over.

6.      Be diligent with digital

a)      Make sure your website is consumer friendly - Last year, BNZ reported that the growth in total online retail spending in December was up 13% compared to the same month in 2014. This growth also outpaced the annual growth in December spending at physical stores, which was around 4% (based on Statistics New Zealand figures for electronic card transactions, for “core retail” industries excluding hospitality). Source:

b)     Get it to them faster than Santa can - Delivery or click and collect is so unbelievably important! You need to streamline this experience and make sure your fulfillment operations are capable, prepared and fast.  

c)      Embrace mobile – Consumers are out and about. They’re shopping up a storm and looking for precise information (like your store location). They are actively engaged in the process, so make it easy for them to look for products and compare prices. The opportunities for proximity marketing here are endless … but that’s an article for another time.

Truth be told, this article is a bit of a farce. The majority of the tips and tricks mentioned above should be implemented all year round, not just over the Christmas period. To ensure your best chance of success, do the retail basics brilliantly – but with added Christmas spirit. Don't fight the season, it's upon us. Embrace it, be merry and hopefully watch the money jingle into the tills.

This was republished from Kerr's LinkedIn.

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