How to plan for the holiday season

If you haven’t already, then the next week or two will be the start of the holiday rush in your store. The next 2 months are the ones that get you through the leaner times.Your feet are going to hurt, you’re back will be sore, you’ll discover the most amazing customers, and then wonder if the Grinch has materialised in a whole bunch of other customers.

So let’s talk planning your merchandising and your store, for the holidays.

There’s something about the holiday season that seems to bring out the extremes in people. I put it down to everyone being rushed, stressed and wanting to make the holidays perfect.Whilst my inspiration for filming this is obviously the Christmas season, todays download and this episode can be used for any holiday season, or even a big in store event.

If you haven’t already, you need to rough out a merchandising calendar.

Download Your Holiday Planner

Here are the things that I map out, to ensure a minimal headache holiday season.

Firstly, download my calendar, and grab a pencil and eraser. This will make it easier for you to brainstorm. Next, go to your POS system and find the top 10 products from last year. Now look at what new products are trending in your store, and add those into your planner For each week, develop a theme. It could be as simple as a colour way, it could be a price point, or a recipient, like ‘gifts for teachers’. The point is to have a cohesive theme running through your store, your advertising, your social media and your website, because cohesiveness gets your customer to know, like and trust you. The 3 foundations to developing a relationship with your customer.

Now that you have identified your themes, which products can be used to market the theme.

Ok, so ideas, check Products, check

Where are these displays going to occur? Are they big window features, are they impulse purchases, will they be displayed on a gondola or table? You’ve got 20 products you’ve got in mind to sell, sell, sell, so make the most of your real estate.

By now, You’ve got a pretty good idea of where your store is heading for this holiday season, by the time you’ve gotten this far. Work out how much stock you’ll need for each promotion, when you need it by, and remember to factor in the lead time for ordering, because suppliers are often delayed with shipping in this crazy period. Now, let’s help the customer and make their shopping experience easier. Which products can you upsell with your main promotion item? Maybe it’s one of those things you use to put a candle out, if you sell candles, perhaps it’s batteries if your item requires them, but doesn’t come with them. It can be big or small. The tip is to display items together that help your customer make a choice.

Lastly, map out your promotional calendar.

What social media channels are you going to use? Will you feature the product in your newsletter – hint, this is the time when you should be sending out weekly emails at a minimum. [Tweet "Do you want to do last minute paid advertising, wither print or online?"] Some advertisers just may have someone pull out at the last minute do to stock running low, or a product not arriving, which will allow you big bargaining power. And, what promotional material do you need in store. Coloured streamers, signs, table cloths, all those bits and bobs that you may have overlooked, write them down now. It will help you avoid those last minute dashes to the store. It sounds like a lot, doesn’t it. And in reality, it probably is. But I know that it’s all too easy to get caught up in the rush before the holidays, and planning can get overlooked, so whether you’re doing it last minute, or planning next year, download my Holiday Planner to help you avoid at least one, holiday headache

Download your Holiday Planner

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