Monday, 23 November 2015

This week is the MUST DO week when it comes to assessing how your Christmas sales are going

It's a hugely important time of the year for most retailers. I know of some retailers that trundle along through the rest of the year happy to break even or make a small profit on the basis that their Christmas trade will make up for it all. Many retailers I've worked with report that over 50% of their annual trade will happen during this quarter of the year. And there's the sales after Christmas to take into account as well!

With this time of year being so important, so busy, you can often forget to take a small step back and assess things. So ask yourself this question today-

How is it going?

Really. Find some time this week to answer that question. It's vital to the success of the rest of the year.

The big retailers have cottoned on to one truth that I'm going to share with you today-

Customers only have a finite amount of money to spend at Christmas.

It sounds pretty straightforward doesn't it? But it changes the way they operate. Their whole ethos is based around getting you (and your customers) to spend it with them and to spend it early. Look at the incentives-

  • Extra loyalty card points
  • Tesco Clubcard exchange
  • Sainsburys Nectar point exchange
  • Boots points events nights
  • Boots Star Gifts and weekly offers
  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday

And the list continues. The idea is that you incentivise your customers to shop with you early. A typical Christmas list might read-

  • Wife
  • Eldest
  • Youngest
  • Mum
  • Dad
  • Mother-in-law
  • Sister
  • Brother
  • Niece
  • Nephew

And once there's a tick next to every name on the list, then Christmas gift shopping is pretty much done. So if it's done at a Boots points event, for instance, then the spend at Boots will minimise the likelihood that there will be any spend in other retailers nearer Christmas.

As for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, these are not American imports, as the press likes to label them. These events mean more to the British market than the American one. In the USA, it's our equivalent of the January sales - they are selling off post-Thanksgiving stock that didn't sell. They don't do Christmas in the same way we do. Over here it a great tool for retailers to get those sales in early.

So have a look at what you have done and what you have planned and see how you can secure those early sales. It will make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the year.

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