The holiday season approaches very quickly once October 1st hits, especially since Christmas decorations are put out in retail stores at the beginning of October. As society evolves with technology, so do the biggest holiday sales days of the year. In 2005 we witnessed Cyber Monday born as the largest e-commerce sales day of the year, which is the Monday after Black Friday. Speaking of Black Friday, most retailers have expanded their Black Friday sales hours (some even open on Thanksgiving Day now!) or have a specific block of hours that specific deals are available.
So, why the change? Well, evolution, of course. In 2012 consumers spent an estimated $579.5 billion on holiday spending; whereas, in 2011 it was an estimated $560.2 billion. The National Retail Federation is estimating that holiday spending in 2013 will rise to $602.1 billion! Each retailer wants their piece of the billions estimated to be spent by consumer. How else are they going to do this other than by beating their competition?
Marketing for the holidays is crucial to pick up a large enough chunk of consumer spending to make it worthwhile for the retailer.
There are a few things retailers can to do increase their footprint and grab some of the profits:
- Extend store hours
- Start holiday sales early
- Create true holiday sale incentive pricing on products that are in demand that will entice consumers (this may be more about quantity to build profits rather than profit by box)
- Ensure enough stock of the sales items are on-hand
- Advertise early…and everywhere
- Build a website where consumers can purchase items from the comfort of their home (or while standing outside – in the freezing cold – in line)
- Ensure enough employees are working to help customers find the products they are looking for and to check customers out in under a couple of hours (I’ve been there…it can be brutal…and exhausting!)
- Track your sales this holiday season to see what brands, products, and employees are selling the most / best
- Train your employees on how to work with customers, how to prioritize their tasks, and how to be as efficient as possible
- Build marketing ploys to get customers to purchase certain items at certain times (i.e. put an item on sale only for a specific number of hours)
- Grow your social networking skills – advertise, engage customers, and build a fan base that reaches the masses
- Enhance your customer’s experience in your store – add a children’s play area, hold hourly drawings where your customers can win products, offer free gift wrapping…create a memorable and positive experience
- Create a customer reward program for your customers when they refer a friend
- Make sure all merchandise tags and areas are clearly marked with the right name and price making it easy for customers to find what they are looking for
Thinking outside of the box can lend a lot to capturing part of the holiday sales that will put profit into your pocket. Figure out what’s right for your store…and DO it!