We know that each and every one of you has a customer-attracting trick or two up your sleeves and we know that many of you are already in full-tilt holiday mode, but just in case you haven’t quite tackled that list of things to do to spin your doors this holiday season, there’s still time. Print this list and get busy:
* Step outside and consider your store front. Is the customer’s first impression clean and clear of debris? Are your window displays set for Christmas or are they pretty much the same as they were during back-to-school? Does your window signing properly represent your brand image? And have you set the appropriate amount of holiday décor throughout the store to put customers in a shopping mood?
* Stand just inside the front door. Customers should be immediately embraced by your store’s ambiance. Your sales floor should smell like the holidays. Visit http://www.scentair.com/ and order holiday scents ASAP. Or visit your local discounter and pick up scent diffusers in holiday flavors. Place them throughout the store – especially near the front door, so the fragrance immediately impacts customers just walking in. And if you sell candles, cross-merchandise a few on or near the checkout counters. If it smells, it sells!
Another part of your store’s ambiance embrace is music. The right music can actually make customers stay in the store longer and spend more money while they’re there. Choose fun music with a good beat, especially when the store is busy. We like disco – it’s the sound of money.
* Check your Decompression Zone, the first 5 to 10’ just inside your store’s front door. This is where shoppers refocus and collect themselves for the shopping ahead. They will miss anything you place in the Decompression Zone, so make sure this space is empty. Just beyond the DZ is where they begin shopping.
* Set your Speed Bump displays to sell. Place Speed Bumps – small fixtures or tables loaded with cool product – just beyond your Decompression Zone. Speed Bumps stop busy shoppers and redirect their focus to your merchandise. Your Speed Bump displays work just like the ones in the parking lot: they make you slow down and take notice.
* Shopping Carts and Baskets. Know why the Wal-Mart greeter offers customers a shopping cart when they walk in the front door? Because customers will spend 25% more than they originally intended to spend, and up to 15 minutes longer in the store.
Place carts and baskets just past the Decompression Zone. Baskets should be near the carts, and also throughout the store, so they are within reach when a customer decides she needs one. Encourage associates to watch for customers carrying product, then get them a cart ASAP. Studies show that customers stop shopping when their hands are full. And if you think your store’s too small for shopping carts, think again. And visit http://www.bigbasketco.com/ and checkout their “Basket Carts”.
* Plan Your Impulse Zones. A big percentage of purchases are unplanned. You know those tables department store merchants place in the aisles during the holidays? They’re called Merchandise Outposts and they’re used to entice customers to pick up product on impulse. You can use these outposts to in your own store to cross-merchandise and to display impulse items and high profit product. Each of your Impulse Zone displays should be reset as least once a week, more often if your store is heavily shopped. This sounds like a lot of work, but it’s not: simply moving items from one Impulse Zone to another makes the product look brand new to shoppers.
* Set your End Features to sell with product customers simply have to have: great new items, hot deals, and value buys. Try to display three items or less per end feature, and use Vertical Merchandising – product displayed in vertical rows – as your primary display technique. Vertical Merchandising exposes customers to a greater variety of merchandise at every eye level. When shoppers see more, they tend to buy more.
* Cross-Merchandise everywhere you can. Cross-merchandising displays complementary product together, saving shoppers time by making it easy to visualize how the items will work together. Cross-merchandise items on clip-strips throughout the store and you’ll encourage add-on purchases and increase your average sale. It’s frustrating for customers to have to make a trip back to the store because they forgot a critical component necessary to complete a project. Cross-merchandise and you both win. Clip-strips and other cross-merchandising fixtures and accessories are available here: http://www.southernimperial.com
* Highlight Gift Cards with carefully placed in-store signing, and encourage store associates to talk them up. Gift card sales are on the rise; that’s good because they bring customers to your store. Studies show that 80 percent of customers spend more than face value of the gift card, and 40 percent of customers spend more than twice the face value of the card. You can’t lose!
* Encourage Impulse Buying at the Checkout Counter. Your check out counters should be loaded up with product customers just can’t pass up. Put the wall behind your checkout counter to work with a fabulous display of gift items. You may even want to set up a Merchandise Outpost within eyeball distance of the checkout; then customers can continue to shop while they wait on line to pay for their purchases.
We wish the strong December sales lasted all year long, but they don’t – you only have a limited time to make your Golden Quarter golden. You have to take advantage of the gift-buying frenzy while you can, so take this checklist out to your sales floor and do a complete walk-thru. Note which areas to change, set your priorities and get to work.
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