Time to Think About Christmas

Tom Egelhoff  |   Thursday Oct. 1st, 2015

It’s that time of year. If you’re a retail location you have probably already placed your order for Christmas merchandise. But that’s only the start of how to have a successful holiday shopping season.

If I asked 100 business owners what it would take for them to have a successful selling season about 75 or more would say a “strong economy.”

If people have money they will spend it, if they don’t they won’t. Makes sense on an emotional level — but not on a logical one.

I will admit that over the course of my working life there were times when the base of the Christmas tree was pretty sparse. But that was my particular problem not due to any economic conditions.

We often feel that if times are tough for us — they are tough for everyone. That’s rarely the case. If you have defined your target market correctly then a sizable percentage of the market will make sure there is Christmas money. Will they spend it with you is the question.

Think Positive

If in fact the economy might have some effect on your sales what do you intend to do about it? Many business owners just cross their fingers and hope for the best. They don’t do much to alter the economic eco-system. You have more control than you think.

How To Gross $6,250 or More

Your employees are critical to your business success. Each employee knows at least 250 people. That’s the number of people who attend the average wedding. Those people should be supporting your employees.

Put your employees to work recruiting their friends and neighbors to support their employment. Extend a small, exclusive, employee discount that’s only available to friends and family of the employee. Give your employees special cards to give out to select people. Once people are in the store knowing they are getting some kind of deal that alone should spur more sales.

If each of your five employees does know 250 people that is 1,250 people. If only ten percent show up (125) and spend just $50 you gross $6,250. If more people show up or your average sale is higher then you are still ahead of the game.

Educate Your Customers Now

Evaluate your store layout. Traffic may flow fine now but what about Black Friday? Are there potential bottlenecks where shopping can be a challenge. People will be looking for easy ways to shop not having to fight their way down cramped aisles to find hidden merchandise.

Your business is a “price driven” business, not a “volume driven” business.

Walmart can fill the aisles with as much merchandise as possible. They rely on volume sales — small purchases but a lot of them.

You rely on selling higher margin products but less of them. Don’t think big box — think better box. Think better shopping experience.

During heavy shopping periods either you or a designated employee should be working the sales floor helping shoppers find merchandise and making suggestions to shoppers.

Package Products

Find products you can package together. This makes it more difficult for competitors and shoppers to compare prices. Something extra is always more attractive than a lower price and it can increase your overall margin if done correctly.

Buy one; get one free is way more powerful than 50% off.

Some Final Thoughts

As you can see, a few minor adjustments can make a big difference in the success of your business over the holiday season.

One of my favorite promotions is the “Shop With A Buddy” coupon. Both shoppers get a deal based on the terms you decide for the coupon. You can put these on your Facebook page or have a coupon page people can print out from your web site.

I know it’s early but let me be the first to wish you a very Merry and very Profitable Christmas selling season.   

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