Once again, it’s time to bust out the tinsel and deck the halls for your November-December holiday sales season.
For retailers, this truly is, in the words of that holiday song, the most wonderful time of the year and can account for upwards of 20% - 30% of annual receipts. If you’re counting on a black Christmas, you need to be well prepared and fully optimized to come out a winner at the holiday season.
As you plan your holiday season, here are some essential merchandising tips and cadences that most of you could really leverage for making the most of your holiday season.
- In October, she shops first for herself. Get the season rolling by encouraging self-purchases starting in mid to late October. Be the fashion source she’ll rely by advising her with authority what’s hot and trending for the season. Pull together all your merchandising, creative and marketing strengths to build the momentum into the peak of the holiday season.
- In November, she’ll combine shopping for herself with early gift buying. Get her in the mood with your most dazzling holiday looks. Surprise her. Inspire her. She is always more likely to buy for herself first. Her earliest gift purchases are likely to be the most important gifts for the most important persons in her life. Be sure you propose her to best-of-brand gifts that shows you know her, you understand her and that you are relevant. This will ultimately maximize your average unit price and margin.
- In December, the main event. By now, she’ll be shopping for gifts in earnest. But she must also meet a budget. Offer her can’t-go-wrong gifts by price point. Also propose gifts of your key product categories such as the sweaters gifts. Make gift buying with your brand as easy as possible.
- Gift cards when it’s down to the wire. As the holiday looms closer and you your shipping cut-off date nears, encourage gift cards and e-gift cards as the perfect gifts. Remind customers that they can still choose e-gift cards until the last day of the holiday. Let her know she can personalize her gift card by strongly promoting the ability to send a greeting card with a gift card or message with an e-gift card - this is a key selling point.
- After your shipping cut-off, direct her footsteps to your store. Besides choosing gift cards, late shoppers can still find great gifts at your brick-and-mortar locations. In all your customer communications - your Web site, emails, tweets and social media presence -give prominence to your store hours. This is a clear omni-channel winner. Best of all, customers are likely to spend more during in-person shopping visits.
- The season doesn’t end when the holidays are over. Post-holiday, invite customers back to spend their gift cards or make exchanges. Hint about that cute little item she was disappointed not to find under the tree - and remind her that it won’t be long before the hottest styles are gone.
- Let them know you care. On Christmas or just prior, make sure you thank your customers for a year of patronage and wish them a happy holiday. It’s a little thing, but it means a lot. Customers like knowing that you’re not “all business.” Also, it doesn’t hurt to give a shout-out to Hanukkah (December 8-16) on your Web site or in your emails - everybody likes it when you make them feel included.
If you need yet more suggestions, check out these tips on winning the holiday season from seasons past:
- Use your gift guide to boost holiday conversions - here's how.
- 10 last-minute tips to win-at holiday.
- How fashion retailers are reinventing holiday offers and promotions.
I hope this is helpful. And here’s wishing all of you a happy and successful holiday season!
Now it’s your turn - how do you win-at the holiday season? How do you make holiday shopping fun, inspiring and easy. Please share with us.