Christmas is a golden time of the year for retail sales. But as any retailer knows, the busiest time of the year also requires a bit of preparation. Before customers start shopping in December, it’s worth doing the ground work now to ensure you’re ready for the sales rush.
The change in the retail landscape in Australia includes online shopping, international brands coming to our shores and of course, economic challenges that are causing consumers to save not spend. These changes mean that we need to be more proactive in our planning approach. The latest IBM retail report has shown that online shopping will continue to grow in Australia this Christmas period. Consumers are choosing to shop online more and more and this will be evident in Christmas sales. So if you are only a bricks and mortar business your competition will be tougher than last year.
Remember there are two guarantees;
- Christmas will happen, and
- People will still spend up on gifts and food for the holiday season.
What you need to compete in this environment is to have the right processes and team in place.
The key planning considerations are:
- Inventory plans and buying – Ensure you have sufficient stock of top selling products. Account for product lines that traditionally peak in summer as well as advertised product lines. The goal is to avoid stock shortages which create negative experiences for customers.
- Human resources and customer service – Have you hired and trained your Christmas team? Casual staff that are hired for the busy season are often overlooked when it comes to sales and service training. This can then deliver a negative experience for the customer who is then driven to shop elsewhere or resort to online shopping. Train all staff on your products and encourage them to know and use the products. A customer can relate to staff talking from personal experience and it is invaluable for their own product knowledge
- Visual merchandising – consider your store layout and how products will be positioned on the shop floor to capture customer’s full attention. The floor is often cluttered during the Christmas period, so plan your products that have high gift appeal and provide great value for money are front and centre.
If you want to get the best sales results this Christmas review your planning and check what you may have missed so that your Christmas business goals will been achieved.