10 Tips to Get the Most Out of the Week After Christmas
Make the Most of the Busiest Shopping Time in Your Store
In a recent article, we talked about the importance of the day after Christmas. But did you know the whole week between Christmas and New Year's can be a big game changer for the profitability of your business as well? If done right, you can net more from this period than any same number of days period during the year. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the end of the year for your retail store.
Have your markdowns ready for the 26th of December and not wait until January for them. The faster you turn this merchandise, the sooner you can freshen up the store. Many retailers wait until they have a January "clearance" sale to clean out the inventory. While this is a good practice, it really means you are not ordering fresh goods until February. Which means your store is not "new" until March.
You have been using more people than ever. The traffic will shift from selling to keeping it sold. Staff your store to help convert those return into exchanges. Too many retailers simply staff to handle returns. Your goal should be to stay to handle exchanges and new sales. Train everyone to suggestive sell when they are processing a return. Also, if you do a lot of gift card sales prior to Christmas, then a lot of your traffic will be new sales. Be ready to sell.
Consider that the day after Christmas also marks the official launch of gift card season. People are in your store to use their gift cards they got for Christmas. Think of some ways you can add a little something extra to those customer's experiences. After all, it may be their first time in your store, so you need to wow them.
Reduce your ad spending. People know your stuff is on sale—you're in retail! Everyone's stuff is on sale. Instead of giving your money to the newspaper, give it to yourself. Or better yet, use some of it to motivate your employees' service with the customer during these days. Or use some of it for buying incentives for your customer.
Be generous with your bounce back coupons with customers. Stuff their bag with incentives to return. Customers get out of the "shopping frenzy" mode in January, so try to keep them shopping in your store with some great incentives.
Christmas is over. Try to make the store reflect that. Change the music. Take down the garland and wreaths and December promotional signage and give the store a fresh look. The chances are many of the people coming in were there prior to Christmas. Imagine how surprised they would be to find a store with a different look than when they were in three weeks ago? Plus no one in retail is doing this, so you are saying to your customer you are different, unique and special.
Full Price Merchandising
Earlier we mentioned getting your markdowns priced, but this is also a great time to get fresh full priced merchandise out on the floor. Remember, many of these customers are using someone else' money (gift card) so they are more likely to look for the new item than the leftover one. And the new items have full margin.
The same goes for your visual merchandising. Remove the "Christmas" displays and give some fresh pop to the store. Don't feel compelled to change every endcap and every display table, but enough of them to freshen up the store is required.
During the holidays, our employees get rather lazy when capturing customer info into the CRM. Spend some time emphasizing the importance of email addresses and other contact info for the customer. Renew a sense of urgency around your loyalty program. Again, with so many gift cards being sold before Christmas, our team can get out of the habit of these important things.
Consider that your employees have just gone the the most grueling four weeks of their lives. And now you are asking them to give you even more. If you've been practicing the ideas to keep your employees healthy during the Holidays, then this week you simply do things to show them you care. Starbucks runs on you, a masseuse in the break room, lunches on you are just a few ways to show your appreciation for all they have done for you this selling season.
The bottom line is that other than big sales, customers don't expect much from a retailer during this week. Most retailers are "out of gas" and just coast to the new year. If you hit your numbers, it's definitely tempting to sit back and not keep pushing. But there is not a better time of year to delight customers than the week after Christmas. We all know that the last impression is the most important one—make the last impression of your store this year be what carries you through the next.