A Merchandising Strategy for the Holidays
Tip #435 - Heading Down the Home Stretch
Dear Tip of the Weeker,
You're heading down the home stretch and we're jealous. We miss the excitement and fun of being on the floor at this time of the year. Enjoy!
The big box and department stores might live for Black Friday, but for most independent retailers it's the last few weeks before Christmas when the sales volume REALLY cranks up. Here are seven ways to make the absolute most of these last two weeks.
Stack it high and watch it fly.
This is my all-time favorite Christmas merchandising strategy! Big mounds of merchandise give the feeling of abundance and generosity we like to have at Christmas time. Also, big stacks of an item give subtle signals of social proof - "Lots of people are buying this, so it must be a good gift." Whether you're stacking on the floor, on tables, or on shelves... stack it high and watch it fly.
Sort and sign your stocking stuffers.
This is the time that many gift givers start focusing on filling the stockings so make finding and selecting stocking stuffers easy. If you haven't yet, pull together a big section of stocking stuffers. Group them by price point or by type of recipient ("Stocking Stuffers Under $10," "Stocking Stuffers for Sports Fans," etc.) and print up some great signs.
Pre-wrap your socks off.
OK, you can keep your socks on, but do pre-wrap some of your best sellers. Wrapped gifts make it easy for frazzled shoppers. Pre-wrapping them makes it easy for you. That way you don't have as much wrapping to do during busy times when you should be selling. Grab-n-go gifts!
Plan for mid-day restocking.
You never want to miss a sale because you're out of something on the floor that you have in the stockroom. (Even writing that sentence is painful...) So make a plan for periodic restocking on your busiest days, usually the next couple of Saturdays and Sundays. Simply hoping the floor gets filled in won't cut it. You have to assign people and times in advance to make SURE it gets done.
Make last minute re-orders on best sellers.
Call your vendors and see if stock is available for hot items you're already out of. Often they will be sold out, too, but sometimes they will be able to ship you right away. You just won't know unless you ask. Don't make the order if they can't guarantee immediate shipping - the last thing you want is scads of Christmas stuff arriving on December 28th. Which brings me to my next point...
Manage your markdowns.
Take a look at your overall inventory levels and your slow moving items. Mark down excess stock NOW that you don't want to see after the holidays. It’s much easier (and more profitable!) to sell slow movers at 25% off in December, than at 50% off (or more) in January.
Staying healthy and physically strong is a challenge this time of year. A healthy body will help you be mentally sharp. Drink lots of water. Take a trip to your favorite health food store for some immune system boosters. Wash your hands often and put hand sanitizer at the cash wrap. And for goodness sake, get some sleep. You've got some BIG, FUN days ahead of you!