The Christmas shopping season is like no other – it may lack the energetic tone of Black Friday, but it has an excitement that’s all its own. Where Black Friday is a rush and rumble of doorbusters, price cuts and sales, Christmas shopping can take place over a number of weeks as shoppers look for the perfect gifts. Many customers have been on the lookout for good deals since the beginning of November, and they take their time to narrow down the options before making a purchase.
As a retailer, it’s your job to assist the shopper in that search and offer the customer an incentive to buy from your store. Prices and quality of merchandise obviously play important roles in the process and great customer service will seal the deal. However, your ad campaign throughout the season and the visual presentation of the store will also be important factors in the coming month and a half.
The customer’s experience with your store begins before they even get out of bed in the morning. In the past, a customer might have read a flyer or mailer about your sales, or they might even have seen an advertisement in the newspaper, or on TV or the radio. While those are all still effective ways of communicating with consumers, the marketing field has changed. Upon waking up in the morning, there’s a good chance that your potential customer is going to look at their smartphone. They will check the headlines, look at the weather report and scroll through social media feeds before even putting on slippers and robe. In those moments between the bed and the coffee maker, you have a perfect opportunity to advertise your upcoming deals and invoke the feelings of the season.
“You can reach customers before they’re even out of bed.”
The marketing blog Momentology looked at some of the most effective Christmas ads from last year and found that most of the advertisements invoked a feeling of giving and charity or used humor to spread holiday cheer. The best ads did both. You can put these ideas to work for your brand, even if you don’t have the budget for TV or radio ads.
For example you could use targeted social media ads to find shoppers who share interests similar to those of your brand and make them laugh with some funny ad copy. To go the emotional route, consider donating to charity and asking your shoppers to do the same. The spirit of Christmas is about giving, after all. As long as you are sincere in your intent, customers will respond positively. If you can get people to have positive associations with your store before they even arrive at your front door, most of your work is already done.
The window display
A great window display is a key part of grabbing the attention of passersby at any time of the year, but at Christmas, it’s an absolute necessity. TimeOut magazine has already reported on where to find this year’s best New York City Christmas storefronts. For many people, looking at the artistic displays can be as fun as driving around after dark to look at the Christmas lights. If you want your boutique store to stand out from the big box establishments, an artistic window display is a great place to start – and it doesn’t have to strain your budget. Check out our hanging paper decorations and display lights for inspiration. Remember to keep the displayed merchandise at eye level, but don’t shy when it comes to using decorations. Stringing lights along the bottom part of the display can create a fairy-tale-like atmosphere. The hanging paper decorations will fill up the top of the display and balance out the bottom part of the display.
This is your chance to get really creative and make your store stand out. Have you used one of our bulldog forms in the past? Try putting the adorable pooch in a red hat and booties to make him part of the festivities. And of course our C3 custom color mannequins make any visual display really pop. Fill out your display with some traditional Christmas decorations and don’t forget to stick with the theme you’ve fostered in your ad campaign. That way, when the shopper arrives at your store, he’s reminded of the emotions he felt when he first heard of your store.
In the store
Continue the theme you’ve developed in your ads and storefront display into the store itself. Inside, the decorations do not necessarily need to be so abundant, but they should set the tone. If you used our hanging paper decorations in your window display, dot them throughout the show floor to create a sense of cohesion. Any place a customer might linger should be decorated with something that reminds them of the Christmas season – even something minimalist. The exact amount of decorations will depend on your brand’s style.
When it comes to merchandise, you’ll have some decisions to make. Bob Phibbs, otherwise known as the Retail Doc, said that the first thing your should do to prepare for the Christmas shopping season is unclutter your merchandise. Phibbs reported that having an abundance of merchandise might seem like a good idea, but it could actually hurt your sales. Basically, if there’s too much to consider buying, the customer might not choose anything at all. Take a hard look at your year-to-date sales and clear away the bottom 20 percent of merchandise. In other words, if the customers aren’t gravitating towards the products, it’s to you to move them – out of your store.
At the end of the day, the Christmas shopping season is about helping customers find the perfect gift for their friends and loved ones. As a retailer, you can help them in that process by invoking a feeling of good cheer and charity. Amplify the Christmas spirit with fun decorations and focus your sales on items that will actually sell. Using these tips, you’re bound to increase your chances of having a great holiday shopping season.