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Christmas never seems to be far away when you work in retail. No sooner has last year's festivities been wrapped up and the Christmas Sale is done and dusted, than thoughts start turning to the next round of Christmas fun. But, in the flurry of activity, crucial steps can often be overlooked as pressure mounts and retailers grow accustomed to the monotony of year in, year out in-store preparations.
It is one of the most important trading periods of the retail year. The impact it has on sales will vary with each retail sector but whichever sector you belong to, it is critical that you maximise the sales potential of this peak festive season.
Consider the following factors when planning your Christmas Visual Merchandising strategy:
Product: Your product needs to be your shop's greatest hero. To create a significant point of difference, plan your product range carefully to ensure you have considered high volume merchandise and the products creating stories. Plan the placement of these product ranges so there is a balance of volume and value as well as eye-catching highlight displays as your hero.
Creative planning and capitalising on the prime season: The festive trading period can constitute up to 40% of a retailer's annual trade. It is not only important from a financial perspective but it is also the most crucial time to cement new relationships with customers. To maximise this opportunity retailers need to use creativity to their strategy to build a point of difference to competitors.
Let's look at window displays, hot spots and standing out from the crowd.
Creating a dominant window display with significant impact from a distance should be the aim of every retailer. It is important not to over-complicate your layout. Make sure there is one strong simple message coming through. Change your window displays regularly throughout your festive campaign to keep it updated and looking inviting.
Careful selection of product for hot spots will ensure the highest number of customers are passing your your most important product lines. Products in these locations need to be clearly ticketing and rotated to ensure they remain full and renewed throughout the festive promotion.
Christmas is the peak retail period of the year and preparation should have already started. If it hasn't - START NOW!
There are two guarantees: Christmas will happen and people will still spend up on gifts and food for the holiday season.
Let's start by looking at your online store:
You have issues to cover but the key issue is time. The date for Christmas doesn't change so by December 24th your Christmas business is done. So plan backwards:
- How long does it take you to pick, pack and ship? That will determine the last date for selling online and delivering by Christmas. Remember, there may be backlogs in delivery so check with your shipping company.
- What are the peak number of orders that you can handle each day and still get the deliveries out?
- How much stock will you need on hand?
- What content changes do you need for your online shop?
- Do you have photos and new stock information from suppliers?
- What about pre-Christmas promotions and sales?
- What about Christmas gifts and gift wrapping materials?