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Tips on Selling, Management

Start planning for christmas trade now
Start planning for christmas trade now

December is coming

With Christmas almost here, David Brown believes it’s naive to take the trading period for granted. He says retailers should start their preparations for the silliest of seasons now.

There would be those who don’t want to think about it yet but the busiest month of the year is just around the corner. The lead up to Christmas can be the busiest for jewellery retailers and the festivities continue even after Christmas Day, which is why this period is very crucial.

However, it has to be duly noted that there is little to no correlation between income generated during the Christmas trade period and the time and effort retailers put into preparing for it. There remain jewellers who incredulously devote hardly any time preparing for the trading period that has the largest annual impact on their profit.

It would be thought unimaginable for a singer or sportsman to enter an important event without sufficient preparation so why is it acceptable for jewellers to take their own major events for granted?

As the festive season draws near, how can a typical store make the Christmas season a financially memorable one? Here are
some tips:

Review old inventory
Christmas is the perfect time to trade off old items without suffering a heavy loss. Considering the number of people that will visit stores in December, even the ugliest of items should surely find a buyer.

Re-ticket and re-box these items to give them fresh appeal and be sure that the current market value is reflected in the price.

Often items are unsold only because staff don’t like them so ensure staff know the products are back on the floor and give incentives if they are sold.

Have a marketing plan
Don’t wait for a radio or newspaper sales rep to come knocking for advertising dollars. Have a viable marketing plan in place before Christmas arrives. What budget is appropriate? What are the best mediums for contacting the right customers? Which products should feature? Which retailers would be open to cross-promotion?

Keep spares
Keeping spares doesn’t mean buying items in lots of 35. Instead, it refers to identifying those popular items that could possibly run out during the holidays. Anything that has a fast-seller status of six or more is likely to sell so quickly in December that retailers risk losing sales if they don’t have spares.

Best feet forward
Even though this seems obvious, retailers can sometimes have their best staff bogged down with non-sales tasks. During Christmas, this is a mistake. Be sure to let the best staff get the required training and practice in the run up to December.

Other staff should support these frontline stars by taking care of other tasks.

Prepare staff
Make sure staff all know about the store’s goals for the silly season, as well as what plans are in place for staff to reach these goals. Explain good-selling items to them and detail how they can help customers to notice these items. Customers visit a plethora of stores in the lead up to Christmas so finding ways to entice them could be the difference between a sale and no sale. If salespeople are well prepared it will make a large difference to the bottom line.

Measure and record
In the hubbub of implementing new plans, processes and initiatives, retailers must not forget to make notes of everything that occurred. If not, next year they’ll find themselves starting their Christmas preparations from scratch. It is important to have a list of any policies and initiatives and a record of how well these policies performed. Recording even the unsuccessful policies will enable retailers and their teams to learn from their mistakes.

Importantly, it’s not a complex operation. Simply by collecting data, retailers will be able to see whether their efforts are bearing fruit. A case in point might be database mailouts. In order to measure the effectiveness of these mailouts, a store must make a note of how many vouchers or letters were returned. Without this information, the manager has no idea if the promotion was successful and must instead rely on a hunch.

Review all procedures
Apart from more manpower, retailers may need extra wrapping paper, spare repair books, computer rolls or even an extra till and POS terminal.

Make sure to take care of all these needs well before December arrives to avoid being left out in the cold this festive season.

There’s only one December each year. Don’t let a lack of preparation be the reason sales fail to take off this year.

David Brown

Contributor • Retail Edge Consultants

David Brown is co-founder and business mentor with Retail Edge Consultants. Learn more:

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