Christmas is traditionally the biggest trading period in the retail calendar. Stores depend on this time to make about 60% to 75% of their sales and profit for the year. This is their opportunity to compete for the consumer dollar.
This year both David Jones and Myer want to gain ground lost over the past year as sales have been disappointing and lacklustre. Myer will employ over 3,000 staff during the key selling period. They are calling these staff members “Gifticians” with the desire to provide customers with a better experience than they are currently known for, while adding a sparkle to the experience. Their digitally savvy employees will be around the store with iPads in hand to help customers find what they want. We all know Christmas can be the most frustrating time of year with many of us walking around aimlessly looking for that perfect gift without a clue of what to buy, or trying to get that elusive item your 4-year-old wants but you realize has been sold out.
David Jones had previously been well regarded for their customer service experience. Remember the tag line “there is no store like David Jones”? Unfortunately of late, that has not been the reality of the actual in-store experience. So for the second Christmas in a row, they have “gift gurus” to help shoppers with selection, gift wrapping, and delivering presents. Even if you are overseas or in Hawthorn, you can call the gift guru, select a gift, and have it sent without even entering the store. This means that shoppers who don’t want to go near the stores at Christmas, and who don’t want to shop online because they want to speak to a human, can have the best of all worlds.
So whether you want to go to Myer’s “Giftorium”, or book an appointment with one of David Jones “gift gurus,” both stores are vying for the consumer dollar, making it as easy as possible for shoppers to spend money in their respective establishments.
So how does this affect a small business? You have the advantage because you have already built a personal and trust relationship with your client. Find ways to make the experience even more special by offering champagne or chocolates, or call to ask how their Christmas shopping is going and whether you may be able to solve some of their problems. You can even add gift-wrapping and delivery. Make the experience fun. Let them know how much you love the Christmas period, which will be opposite to what other retailers will be doing as they whine about the trading hours and terrible customers, and complain about how much they hate Christmas.
Have a branded document where your client can write down a person’s name with details about the person they are purchasing for, so you can offer gift suggestions. This can be done even before they come into the store. Then, when they do come in, you will have your suggestions ready for them.
There are many ways to get the consumer spending in your store. All you need is to think outside the box. Make your clients feel special. Give them a great experience, and they will keep coming back for more. Christmas can be a wonderful time of year for all retailers.
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