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Retail strategies for a successful Christmas

The countdown to Christmas has begun. As TALIA PAZ reports, there are plenty of festive-friendly retail strategies that can be implemented to ensure this year is one of the most successful, and merry, yet.

The lead up to December 25 is a busy period filled with sales opportunities; however, additional foot traffic and a mighty turnover in stock can also equal stress galore.

Preparing early is key so with that in mind, here are four focus areas to help ensure stores are in a strong position this festive season. The countdown to Christmas is officially under way.

The dream team

Consider this – teamwork makes the dream work. A successful store is only as strong as its staff, and how jewellery storeowners manage their business this festive season will ultimately make or break sales.

According to financial services and mobile payment company Square, there is no underestimating the value of reviewing last year’s sales from the weeks heading into Christmas to identify what days are likely to be busy before rostering staff accordingly.



"The secret to more sales is having more of the right product. The right product is the one that your customers are telling you they like – and it’s their wallets that are doing the talking."
David Brown, Retail Edge Consultants co-founder and business mentor

The company’s website advises business owners to ensure team members submit their Christmas availability well in advance and have a shortlist of backup employees on hand should unforeseen emergencies crop up.

Promoting discussion amongst team members about how to combat workplace stress during the pre-Christmas rush is another worthy action step.

A report by non-profit organisation Helpguideorg International – which publishes reports on mental health topics – emphasises the importance of communicating with employees one-on-one.

Advice to business owners about tackling staff workplace stress states: “Talk to them about the specific factors that make their jobs stressful [and] give workers opportunities to participate in decisions that affect their jobs. Show that individual workers are valued and appreciated and that job stress is taken seriously.”

Further, a report by Frontline Recruitment Group outlines that retailers need to schedule regular staff meetings that clearly state what the demands of each employee are and what guidelines are to be followed during the busy period.

Preventing product loss is also an area retailers will need to discuss with staff sooner rather than later. As well as having an effective inventory management system and up-to-date security measures, Wes Wernette, a business-to-business marketing consultant, recommends ensuring staff are trained in loss-prevention techniques so everyone knows how to identify theft – and what to do if it occurs.

Harvey Norman loss prevention manager Michael Neary offers similar advice in a training manual for Retail Excellence Ireland.

“Have strict policies on refunding, staff purchases, stock movement, cash handling and all areas where theft can occur,” Neary advises, adding that establishing a duress code word so staff can summon assistance from other staff members can also be of help.

Fill up the stockings

Successful jewellers will know that smart stock management in the lead-up to Christmas is crucial. Retail Edge Consultants co-founder and business mentor David Brown suggests retailers begin by reviewing what worked and didn’t work for the festive period last year. What were the best-performing categories? Were there any customer requests that were not satisfied? After key issues have been addressed, it’s time to stock up.

“Above all else – re-order fast sellers,” Brown says. “The secret to more sales is having more of the right product. The right product is the one that your customers are telling you they like – and it’s their wallets that are doing the talking.”


Brown adds that not only should jewellers be immediately re-ordering items that are quickly selling but they should keep re-ordering these until customers stop buying them. “Make sure everybody knows how critical these key pieces are and give them the VIP treatment. Don’t leave them in the economy queue when they deserve business class check-in!”

Francesca Nicasio, a Jeweller contributor and retail and content strategist for retail management software business Vend, advises not to forget to stock up on holiday merchandise and associated provisions well in advance – think receipt paper, gift boxes, pens, tags and cleaning supplies.

Nicasio points to return policies too: “Be clear about how you’ll process returns. Will you issue cash refunds or store credit? Will you allow shoppers to return items without a receipt? These are just some of the matters you’ll need to address. There is no one-size-fits-all policy for returns and exchanges, so craft your rules based on what makes the most sense for your business. Whatever you decide, though, communicate it clearly with your staff.”

US jewellery industry magazine Instore suggests a novel idea – implementing a “distinctive” return policy, such as offering customers 110 per cent back on items – as long as the customer accepts a store credit rather than a cash or credit refund. Keep it strictly limited to items purchased over the festive period, it adds.

Digital innovation

Secret Santa buyers, last minute shoppers, early-bird consumers and generous high-value gift-givers; retailers should be targeting all of these customers both offline and online.

It might seem obvious but retailers would do well to remember to update websites and social media accounts with any special Christmas trading hours.

A good suggestion is for retailers to not only give their websites a festive makeover by incorporating Christmas motifs, such as stars and wrapped gits onto the homepage and business logo, but also take it a step further by adding a Christmas Day countdown to the site – it can generate excitement and send a subtle reminder to customers that time is running out.

A similar theme can carry through to social media channels.


There is no shortage of Christmas social media campaign ideas online; however, why not start by conducting a ‘12 days of Christmas’ promotion? Businesses can schedule a themed post for each of the 12 days leading up to Christmas Day – it might be an announcement that the store is providing a free gift-wrapping service on December 18 and a complimentary ring clean on December 20.

Mary Stribley writes on graphic-design tool website Canva that utilising snapshots from customers is another easy and engaging promotion. Stribley provides Starbucks as an example of a business that gets “heavily into the holiday season” by posting Christmas-themed – and Starbucks-themed – images, both crowd-sourced and from its own content, on platforms like Instagram.

Marketing magazine’s blog has this advice for jewellers wishing to spread their social media efforts across more than one platform: “Different methods work better on different platforms. Instagram favours a hashtag-heavy approach – #ChristmasDeals #XmasOffers #SpecialHolidays – which also works on Twitter but doesn’t have the same impact on Facebook. Tailor your content to suit each platform and spread goodwill widely.”

Remember that special offers, sales and promotions need to be shared across all marketing channels including in-store, social media and websites.

Don’t forget the store’s existing customers – email marketing is ideal for them. Rebecca Hesilrige, content marketing manager for email and SMS marketing provider Pure360, suggests that retailers make sure that even online offers can be redeemed in-store to maximise redemption, and that the Christmas marketing message is consistent wherever the consumer chooses to interact with the brand.

According to Michelle Anh Hoang, marketing executive for digital online marketing business Beeketing, retailers also shouldn’t undervalue sending personal e-greetings to loyal and valuable customers.

“During the holiday season, all people are in a joyful mood that they send greetings to everyone they know and [as such] receiving season greetings don’t seem like annoyances,” Anh Hoang states.

“The key is to be thankful for their continued patronage to your store. Within the message, you can include the following – an introduction of your upcoming holiday sale and a ‘save the date’ button, and an inclusion of their latest purchases or past holiday purchases with corresponding product recommendations.”

Visualise, Materialise

According to a 2016 joint study by Koji, the Australian Consumer, Retail and Services (ACRS) research unit and POPAI, 73 per cent of consumers are doing their Christmas shopping exclusively in bricks-and-mortar environments. This means retailers really do need to ensure they are attracting shoppers with the right sights, sounds and smells this festive season.

Vital information that should be on full display to customers include opening hours – a blog post for visual display supplier UK POS recommends listing hours from December 23 up until January 3 – and, if appropriate, final dates for online orders.

Visual merchandiser Sarah Quinn tells Australian retail news website Retailbiz that retailers should revise company values and their target market before devising visual merchandising displays ahead of Christmas.

“Each week, schedule 15 minutes to experience your shop like your customers,” Quinn explains. “Sit out the front of your shop and see what customers see. Enter your shop and walk through it as a customer. You could also photograph your store – the windows, displays, counter, aisles, fixtures, tables, walls – and make note of what needs fixing. The small things can make a difference.”


Christmas is a time of excitement, nostalgia, family and most importantly, an opportunity to stop and reflect; therefore, it is imperative retailers are forging emotional connections with all who step foot in store.

According to ‘ambient scenting’ specialist Prolitec, Christmas carols are a mainstay in retail because they invoke nostalgia. Yes, carols may get annoying but the business suggests that the more nostalgia retailers can create the greater the sales opportunities.

“Studies show that when people feel nostalgic, they’re more generous, less concerned with keeping control of their money and willing to pay more for products,” the article reads.

However, it states that retailers should not rely on music alone and should instead combine the sounds of Christmas with the smells of Christmas.

“Often, patrons don’t even consciously perceive scents. Yet, smell can evoke nostalgic feelings even more powerfully than other ambient elements,” it explains.

Nick Terket, a marketing executive and contributor to business website Business2Community, also notes how retailers can leverage the smells that are often associated with the season – fruit mince pies, anyone? – to their advantage.

“The sense of smell is so basic that we’re often not even aware of how scents affect our memories and emotions,” Terket writes. “With that in mind, include planning a scent marketing component along with sight and sound in your Christmas marketing plan. You’ll be providing something shoppers can’t get online: an enjoyable, memorable experience that touches the senses.”

Remember too that beautifully packaged goods enhance the in-store experience and business reputation. A Shopify blog offers some tips to up the gift-wrapping ante.

“Think about sweet and unexpected bonuses like a small seashell, a small tag with a special or inspirational quote printed on it, or even a little jingle bell that customers can tie onto their pets’ collars,” the blog states. “The possibilities are endless, and the fact that you’re giving shoppers a ‘bonus’ and going above and beyond the normal wrapping humdrum speaks volumes about how much you value their business.”

Christmas is fast approaching, meaning it’s now time for retailers to get down to business, review those creative ideas, finalise procedures and let the countdown to the jolly day begin.

CHRISTMAS selling tips

Ensure all staff know exactly what promotions and offers have been made via social media and email so there are no mixed messages in store. 

Retail Edge Consultants recommends ordering lunch for the whole team on the busiest days – it will definitely boost morale. 

Don’t underestimate the value of gift-wrapping. According to a 2016 joint study by Koji, the ACRS research unit and POPAI, consumers whose Christmas purchases were gift-wrapped by retailers had an “excellent experience and reason” for shopping. 

Lobe layering, statement earrings and mixed metals are just some of the hottest fashion trends heating up this spring-summer. Head to jewellermagazine.com to see what other styles will be influencing consumer purchase decisions this Christmas. 

Add some ‘Greenery’ to the store! Colour authority Pantone has named Greenery as its 2017 colour of the year. The shade can be used in many colour combinations, and let’s not forget that it ties in with Christmas decorations perfectly. 

 











ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Talia Paz • Staff Journalist

Talia Paz is a staff journalist for Jeweller, and has more than three years' experience as a freelance journalist for national and international publications, covering a wide range of industries.









Friday, 19 April, 2019 09:00am
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