Holiday times are great, aren’t they?
With the holiday rush upon us, for most retail businesses, they provide that much needed cash flow boost to set you up for the following year. Last year, Australians spent over $26 billion during the Christmas season – could you use a chunk of that? If so, you need to prepare your retail business for the Christmas period now.
It’s a lot of money that customers are happily parting with to make the season festive. And, as an independent retailer, you want to make sure that as many of those dollars are making their way into your bank account, as possible.
If you’re looking to maximise sales and make this your best season ever, then here are our tips on what you can do, to boost your holiday sales.
Set Christmas revenue goals
It’s easy to rest on your laurels when you know that this quarter is always a cash cow. However, keeping tabs on your sales and setting revenue goals, will push you to maximise your revenue during this period. When it comes to setting those goals, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Goals shouldn’t be a number just plucked out of the air, or guesstimated based on last year’s turnover. Using a stretch (but achievable) goal, that’s measurable and realistic, will keep you on track for success.
Use Historical Data
Data is the best way to work out your holiday sales forecast. Look through previous year’s sales during the same period, highlight trends, check sales against current orders and stock levels and you’ll have all you need to create your Christmas revenue goal.
Run the Numbers
By their very nature, goals need to be tracked on a regular basis. Given the short holiday period, weekly tracking against your forecast will help you adjust your marketing and advertising, to ensure you hit (or exceed) your goals.
Formulate your Christmas retail promotions
Shoppers are always looking for bargains, bonuses and value, whilst they’re shopping up a storm. So, taking some time out now, to draft out your weekly/fortnightly promotions, will put you in the perfect position to capitalise on all that spending.
Remember, shoppers can often be overwhelmed, tired, frazzled and time poor when they’re shopping for holiday gifts. Making it as easy as possible for them to buy, not only means they are likely to spend more, but they’ll also keep you front of mind in the future, when purchasing.
In order to hit that new revenue goal, your store needs ways of increasing the average order value (AOV) of each sale during the festive season. Just a few ways for you to increase the bottom line of each sale include:
Bundling items together
The beauty industry has bundling products down to a fine art. L’occitane capitalizes on gift giving by bundling best-selling items together. As a gift giver you may not know exactly what the recipient likes, so a selection of top selling items is a pretty good bet that they will be well received.
(image via loccitane.com)
When bundling items together, think about products that work better together or are complimentary to one another. For example; in homewares, try a platter and serving spoon bundle and if you have a clothing store, bundle a belt and necklace together.
Crafting gift boxes/hampers/baskets
Gift hampers/baskets/boxes are one of the highest Christmas sellers. Being an independent retailer, you can choose to bring in pre-made gift boxes from suppliers or create them yourself.
The plus side of pre-made supplier gift boxes is their ease of sale, customer loyalty to a brand and not having to purchase any additional items in order to put them straight onto the shop floor.
Image via petersofkensington.com.au
The down side of pre-made hampers, depending on how your personal store brand is perceived, is that this style of gift hamper may seem “generic” and unappealing to your customers.
On the other hand, crafting your own gift boxes in house will take time, but you’ll be able to customize the products to your customers tastes, resulting in bespoke, curated gifts customers flock to buy.
Image via hamperme.com.au
You may even find a selection of pre-made and in-house curated, is the best mix for your customers. Whichever style you choose, gift baskets and hampers are a must have, no matter what type of retail business you have.
Mini versions, sample packs and travel sizes are a great way to introduce customers to a product. Best of all, for the retailer, they’re a cost-effective way to increase the average order value and get repeat business.
Top Tip: To maximise the potential of the gift recipient coming back to your store, make sure to incentivise repeat purchases with your own gift voucher or added bonus.
(image via Amazon.com)
Incentivise with gifts-with-purchase (GWP)
Gifts with purchase (GWP’s) have long been a staple in the beauty industry to boost sales, no matter what time of year.
Customers love a bonus, so the “gift” should be a product that customers really want, an item that ‘tips them over the line” when it comes to purchasing, not just a tacked-on accessory.
Check out the range of GWP’s on offer at Sephora.
Image via Sephora.com
Generally , the “free gift” is provided by the supplier, but that shouldn’t stop you from creating your own GWP promotions. Speak to your suppliers to see if they have sample ranges they can give you, or sell to you at cost, so that you can create unique offers that aren’t available in any other stores.
Schedule your social media over the Christmas period
When the pace picks up, it can be easy to overlook social media. However, with catalogues filling their letterboxes and department stores running constant sales, social media can be a great way to get your brand front and centre.
But you’re going to have to think outside the box. Don’t just use product shots – think about the emotions you want to evoke in your customer and find images that will do exactly that. Get your followers into the holiday spirit (and sooner rather than later).
And now that you know the promotions that you’ll be having, you can schedule the in posts, to ensure maximum exposure.
Schedule social posts around key dates & times
Independent retailer’s quite often leave their festive promotions until too late in the year, to get the maximum number of sales. At the end of September, major stores are already putting fruit mince pies on the shelves, to prime customers for the upcoming holiday spending.
But you don’t need fruit mince pies! Instead, use social media to get your followers ready to spend, in a not-so-in-your-face way and have them clicking (or coming into) your store.
Schedule posts with upcoming sales
The day after Halloween (31 October) is generally seen as the beginning of the Christmas spending rush. But if your store doesn’t need to be stocked up for Halloween, then think about getting your social media posts ramping up before the end of October.
Black Friday (23 November) and Cyber Monday (26 November) events are creeping across from the US and customers are starting to look for deals on these dates. In the US last year, shoppers spent $5 BILLION in just 24 hours on Black Friday!
Remember, you don’t always have to discount to get a sale. Leveraging social media to bring in more customers and increasing sales by having exclusive deals that are ONLY available on those dates, is a sure-fire way to boost your revenue this holiday season.
And don’t forget to think about shipping cut offs (regular and express), gift guides and last- minute shopping ideas, to fill your social feed.
Example(s) of a successful holiday retail social media campaign
If mass consumption doesn’t fit with your brand, take a leaf out of Patagonia’s books. Just a week before Black Friday, they switched out their social campaign to donate 100% of Black Friday sales to charities. The brand expected to hit $2m in sales, but instead, the social campaign snagged them a massive $10 million!
Here are a few eye-opening stats* from their uber-successful social campaign:
- It trended on Twitter & Facebook
- Patagonia got 60,000 new Facebook followers in two days
- Emma Watson and Al Gore mentioned it to their Twitter/Facebook followers
- The story was picked up by the AP, CNN, Forbes, New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Outside Magazine, and Treehugger, among other media outlets.
- In store foot traffic was up 17%
- In store sales were up 76%
- 70% of online purchases were made by first time customers
Image via oursocialtimes.com
Find what works for you
These days, social media feeds are heavily curated. Sure, it’s great to throw in a few in store photos, customers shopping and products in use, but use the insights in your social channel, to check out what’s trending, what customers are engaging with and the best times for posting for your own store.
It’s time to grab a calendar and pencil in all those key dates to prep your social media posting. You’ll actually find that there isn’t much time, so schedule your socials now, to see your sales soar.
Create a new opt in/freebie/lead magnet
With the influx of people that will be coming to your website (and store), it’s imperative that you capture as many emails for your customer databases you can, so you can market to these people in the future.
But here’s a tip – you do NOT have to give a discount in order to add those names to the list. In fact, most customers want something of value. So take some time now, to think about how you can serve them, in exchange for their details.
Here are a few examples:
A checklist for what you need to cook the perfect roast dinner
If you’re a homewares store, focus on what your customers need, rather than what they think they want – in this case homewares. There’s a good chance your customers are going to be looking to create the perfect Christmas table spread. And often, a roast sits smack bang in the middle.
But not everyone is a domestic goddess.
When Lisa Corduff used social media to drive followers to her live video of how to cook a roast chicken, she had so many people try to attend, she broke the platform she was using to stream the video! So instead of offering a discount to get customers to subscribe to your email list, offer them YOUR perfect roast checklist (you don’t even need a recipe!) in exchange for their details 9it might just go viral!)
Your favourite recipes that are perfect for the festive season
Your store doesn’t have to focus on food or homewares, to use recipes as a festive opt in. Busy mums, bbq-loving dads, singles and people with big families…everyone wants easy recipes to whip up in the hectic Christmas lead up.
With the multitude of Christmas parties, family catch ups and friends dropping in, a list of simple, quick and easy recipe is much more of an incentive to join your customer database, than a profit-munching 10% off. Best of all, customers are much more likely to remember you for this freebie than they will getting a few dollars off their order.
A how-to tutorial (how to gift wrap the perfect present)
If there’s one time of year that makes most people feel like they flunked the Martha Stewart school of gift wrapping, its Christmas.
With dozens of gifts, sitting on display in your living area under the uber-styled tree for weeks on end – poorly wrapped gifts can seriously downgrade your social status (joking, of course…well, kind of….).
Customers will love a video, infographic, or heck, even a list of you tube links on how to wrap basic and awkward gifts, way more than a small discount at checkout.
(ps, if you click through to that Martha Stweart link, you’ll notice Martha’s opt in is her “complete cookie guide”, not a discount in sight!)
Think about what you can provide, to make this busy period as stress free for your customers as possible and they’ll be clamouring to hand over their details in exchange for it.
Christmas is the time for giving and receiving. If you’re open and happy to give your customers a memorable experience and make their lives a little bit easier, they’ll reward you with the greatest give of all – repeat business!
These simple business tweaks can make a huge difference to your bottom line. For example, if you do 5,000 orders in this quarter, an extra $10 per order will mean $50,000 extra dollars in your bank amount. And who doesn’t want that!
*stas via valorcsr.com