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Getting your store ready for the holiday season

Getting your store ready for the holiday season

Thanksgiving and the busiest shopping season of the year are just around the corner. Are you prepared? From now until the new year, there’s a holiday every few weeks, and that means customers will be out in droves buying gifts for friends and family. In all that hectic rush, it’s easy for one store to get passed over for another. In the end, which store people shop at comes down to three things: Marketing, prices and desirable products.

And yet these three pillars of the shopping experience still need to be tempered by something else: the holiday spirit. It may sound saccharine, but the truth of the statement is undeniable. Your displays and marketing strategy need to evoke feelings of comfort and seasonal cheer or they won’t resonant with the consumer. Prices and sales promotions should feed the idea of gift-giving. Even the products themselves can bring out in customers a feeling of nostalgia for holidays gone past.

Vintage racks make any item interesting and approachable.Vintage racks make any item interesting and approachable.

Seasonal store displays
The holiday season calls for more elaborate displays than other times of the year. In Ellen Diamond’s book, “Fashion Retailing: A Multi-Channel Approach,” the author wrote that holiday store displays should be allowed to cut into the sales floor so long as they are able to stimulate shopping. In other words, if your displays are doing their job correctly, you won’t have to worry about stockpiling heaps of merchandise that your customers may or may not want. Focus instead on the items you know are going to sell well, and display them boldly.

This idea should extend from your window displays to the actual props used to hold up the merchandise. For example, if you’re struggling to make clothing products stand out on the show floor, consider using Firefly’s black boutique table set. The two tables are great for displaying any kind of items – they are sleek and fun without being intrusive, so they look great without stealing the spotlight of the actual items you’re trying to sell.

Think Travel
According to the American Automobile Association, nearly 50 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more last Thanksgiving. Consider using this theme in your store this season. Not only can you use mannequins and other props to create a scene of family reunion, you can sell small travel items for people to take with them on the road or in the air. For instance, you could sell chocolates and other candies near the register and encourage shoppers to add them to their gifts. Or you could sell items to make travel easier, such as neck pillows, small books or word games. The main idea here is to get customers excited for the journey ahead of them, and encourage them to buy these secondary items in order to be better prepared.

“To reach millennials, buy targeted ads online.”

However, you should also be aware that many customers, especially young people, will not be able to go home for Thanksgiving. According to The Washington Post, many young people are celebrating “Friendsgiving,” rather than going home for the holiday. It’s cheaper and, for many people, more fun. If your store sells mainly to millennials, consider evoking the feeling of friendship and local community. To do this, incorporate the idea of spending time with friends into your online marketing campaign. Millennials aren’t likely to see your ad in the local paper, but you can buy locally targeted ads on Facebook and other social media sites that will reach your target audience.

Changing Fashion
Thanksgiving is also the time of year when the weather changes from cool to cold. Depending upon your store’s location, this might have already happened – or it may not happen at all – but there is a definite change in the minds of shoppers. As winter comes blowing into the northern states, more people will be wearing boots and heavier jackets. As for warmer climates, winter trends will show themselves more in colors and styles rather than materials. Glamour magazine reported that sleeveless coats, ankle-length boots and plaid patterns allow women to show off their winter style without overheating in the process.

When it comes to displaying these trends, Firefly’s vintage boutique black collection is a great choice. Every piece gives your store a unique flair that tells shoppers it isn’t just another big box store. The curving lines and dark color make the racks and tables look confident without showing off. Whether you’re displaying the latest handbag trends or fun, short-sleeved tunics, this collection is sure to make each item look interesting and approachable. The vintage look can also inspire nostalgia for Thanksgivings of the past – use them in tandem with your seasonal props to create a feeling of being home with family and friends once again.

Black Friday
There will be more black Friday tips and tricks to come on the Firefly blog, but for now it’s important to keep in mind that the day after Thanksgiving is the craziest shopping day of the year. It can be hard for store owners and staff, because it means a lot of hectic running around and last-minute preparations. At the beginning of the month, you should try to do as much as you can to prepare for the big event. The biggest question to ask yourself is, why should shoppers come to your store on black Friday rather than your competitors’? There’s bound to be dozens of great deals at stores both around the city and online. How can you make your store stand out amongst the crowd? Start planning now, and keep in mind the ideas mentioned above.

The upcoming holiday season is when many stores do most of their business. Plan accordingly by marketing your sales promotions and finding your niche customers. Remember that it’s important to evoke the emotions of the season – and don’t be afraid to be elaborate with your displays. With help from Firefly, your store will look great and get customers in the mood to shop.