* If holiday music is good, then holiday music with a disco beat is better. It may drive you nuts, but the uplifting disco beat puts customers in the mood to buy. And that’s music to any retailer’s ears!
* Invest in a machine that emits scents into the air. (Hint: you can find them at grocery and discount stores or visit http://www.scentair.com ) Pleasant aromas have been proven to have a profoundly positive effect on customers – and their wallets. The old adage, “If it smells, it sells” especially holds true during the holidays.
* Keep gift certificates at the top of your gift recommendation list and on signs posted throughout the store. Studies show that 80% of gift certificates are redeemed for more than face value, and 40% are redeemed for more than double the face value. Gift certificates are an easy gift for a guy who has no idea what to buy his significant other, plus that 80/40 redemption thing is on your side when she comes in to redeem it. What have you got to lose?
Present your gift certificates like the wonderful gifts that they are. A plastic gift card stuffed in an envelope doesn’t look like much, even if it’s for $100. But a gift card that’s placed in tissue paper and wrapped in a pretty gift box is something special. Remember, your gift certificate packaging represents your store – it builds a perception in the customer’s mind of who you are when she opens it; so package it well.
* Your store’s Decompression Zone – the first 5’ to 15’ just inside your front door – is the one part of your store that’s never a good place to put things you want to be sure customers see. Place carts and baskets just outside of the Decompression Zone, or better yet, leave some there and scatter additional carts and baskets throughout your store. The goal is to leave the customers' hands free so they can shop longer. Once their hands are full, customers are likely to head for the check out counter.
The good news is that the Good-L Corporation makes shopping carts for even the smallest of stores. Visit their website at http://www.bigbasketco.com for more information.
* Women are big impulse shoppers, so turn your checkout counter into an “Impulse Zone” by displaying cool product, and small gifts items she won’t be able to resist. Change these items at least as often as you rotate the product at the front of your store.
* Post your “Top 10 List of Not to be Missed Holiday Gifts”, along with “Did you remember the Gift Certificates?” signs in your crop/class room, and even in the rest rooms.
And when the holiday’s are over, and things begin to wind down, that’s the time to note what worked in your store, what didn’t, and what you wish you would have done differently. No matter how tired you are, don’t skip this important step. Your notes will be invaluable when it’s time to plan for Holiday 2009. Retail’s in the details. There’s no doubt that the holiday season is a stressful time for most retailers, but with a little planning, it doesn’t have to be.