It may seem like you still have plenty of time to gear up for the holiday rush, but there are many shoppers who have already begun to seek out the gifts they will give to loved ones come December. There are many ways you can cater to these shoppers to enhance your sales while also learning a bit about your stock and what the holidays have in store for you this year.
Canaries in a Christmas mine
It may be a bit irritating to have shoppers looking for holiday gifts when your display cases and jewelry displays are still stocked with autumnal items, but these early birds can be very indicative of what you will see when the holiday rush starts in earnest. Keep meticulous track of what items are selling quickly – odds are these are the hottest products, which is why people are picking them up early. You can suggest that your staff casually ask individuals about their purchase as they are ringing them up. For example, a simple question such as, "Is this a gift for a special someone?" can key you in to whether you're dealing with an early bird shopper.
Embrace the rush
If you want to capitalize on early shoppers, then you need to let them know that you have what they need. You can do this in any number of ways, but store signs may be your best bet. Consider putting up a "Countdown to Christmas" sign sometime in November. Every day, your workers can change the number, reminding shoppers that when it comes to the holidays, time is of the essence. Eager shoppers will see this signage and realize that you are prepared.
In addition, you can send out some tweets or Facebook posts promoting your holiday goods. Simple messages such as, "It's not too early to start your Christmas shopping!" are a good idea, but don't send out too many of these. Some shoppers prefer to wait until after Thanksgiving before they start thinking about holiday shopping.
In order to truly satisfy the early bird crowd, you need to have all the necessary supplies to make their visit perfect. This means in addition to stocking your display tables and wall displays with the hottest items, you should also be offering gift wrapping services sooner than later. Now is the time to stock up on wholesale ribbon, gift boxes and tissue paper. Have a few holiday prints in your arsenal, but also have some neutral wrapping paper for those who are buying gifts for other occasions this time of year.
It happens slowly
You don't need to go full-throttle with your holiday promotions. Instead, let it happen organically by steadily increasing your offerings as the holidays approach. Start out with just one kiosk or shelving unit devoted to holiday goods, and then expand that to two or three display tables in November. After Thanksgiving, you can go all the way, with holiday tunes playing and Christmas decorations throughout your store.
Eliminating old items
As the holidays draw nearer, you'll need to start pushing your fall and summer items to make room for the new stock. A great way to do this is to offer a gift with purchase to early bird holiday shoppers. Advertise this promotion by placing some gift bags or knick-knacks in display cases near the register. Let customers know that if they are buying a gift for someone else, they will receive a smaller token with their purchase that's just for them.