Retailing 115: Having a Happy Holiday
Coordination and preparation are keys to a successful holiday selling season.
You’ve worked with your suppliers and created your Gift Guide, and now it’s time to get your store and staff ready for the holiday selling season.
According to Deloitte, a leading consulting firm in the retail and distribution industry, holiday sales are expected to increase 3.5 to 4 percent this year. Significantly, Deloitte also forecasts a 15 to 17 percent increase in non-store sales this holiday season, primarily attributable to e-commerce.
Alison Paul, vice chairman of Deloitte, says, “Non-store sales continue to outpace overall growth, but increasingly influence consumers’ experience with the retail store — from trip planning, to in-store product research, and post-purchase reviews and sharing.” In other words, many holiday shoppers and gift-givers are going to research and plan their shopping trips and purchases online, so specialty tennis retailers need to make maximum use of their websites as a part of the overall shopping experience they provide, including showcasing their Gift Guides, providing driving directions to their stores and explaining the tennis products and services they sell.
Many holiday shoppers and gift-givers start their research before Thanksgiving in order to be prepared before Black Friday and the actual start of the holiday shopping season. This means there are 60 days of official holiday shopping from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. With this in mind, make sure you’ve planned your holiday merchandise selection with your suppliers, have your scheduling calendar filled out, and have your Gift Guide on your website in early November. In-store displays can wait until after Thanksgiving, but have them ready to go up as soon as you open for Back Friday — which is the next day.
You probably know this, but let’s review the key dates for planning your multi-channel marketing for the holidays: Nov. 22–Thanksgiving; Nov. 23–Black Friday; Dec. 9-16–Chanukah; Dec. 24–Christmas Eve; Dec. 25–Christmas Day; Dec. 26–Kwanzaa; Dec. 31–News Year’s Eve.
The 60 days from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 and the four gift-giving occasions from Dec. 9 to 31 are the critical time frame and focal points of your direct response mailing and advertising, your website, your special holiday events, both in-store and with partners in the community, and your in-store merchandising.
Coordinate your holiday merchandising and marketing with your Gift Guide. If you haven’t already done so, sit down with your suppliers’ sales reps and coordinate the merchandise you have selected for your Gift Guide with the items you advertise, feature on your website and display in your store. Sounds simple, but the important steps of making sure you get the most bang or sales out of the time and money you invest in advertising, promotion, in-store displays, your Gift Guide and your website by making sure the same merchandise is featured, and available, is too often overlooked.
The last point to coordination is making sure your suppliers can get you what you need, when you need it, throughout the holiday selling season.
Preparation is Key
Prepare your store, your staff and your staffing schedule. Preparing your store involves planning the in-store displays, including holiday decorations and merchandising, in advance and laying it out on your planning calendar. Know where you are going to obtain materials, what displays you will change and set-up, and when and who will do the display work.
Preparing your staff, no matter how big or small, for the 60-day holiday shopping season can make the difference between being worn out and harried and being satisfyingly tired and feeling you’re in control. Sit down with everyone who will be involved and review your planning calendar and Gift Guide, marketing plan and store operations planning, including the hours your store will be open, to make sure everyone is familiar with and prepared for the customers and their questions, the role they are going to perform, and the hours they are going to work.
And don’t forget the seasonal shopper who may not be a tennis player, but is shopping for a gift for a relative or loved one who is a tennis player. Your store’s job is to make buying a tennis gift as simple and easy as possible, by providing an extraordinary tennis shopping experience!
For upcoming TIA retail webinars, and to view previous webinars, visit tennisindustry.org/webinars.