We were told that Monday 3rd December 2012 was Mega Monday (or Cyber Monday as others call it). Apparently, on this single day, up to £10,000 per second was being spent online.
There are always forecasts like this, and always on the first Monday of December. I’ve never seen a retrospective analysis to determine if it’s true or not, but what I do know is that once Cyber Monday (or mega Monday) has been and gone the focus of Christmas shoppers begins to move away from online and toward physical shop-based retailers.
With two peak shopping weekends to go before Christmas, retailers need to stock up, spruce up, get festive and bring in extra staff.
The next two weekends are likely to have the highest footfall (especially since few online retailers will be guaranteeing delivery by Christmas on orders placed after 15th due to the overload on couriers and postal services) so you need to be ready to make the most of it.
Here are a few top tips:
- Get as much of your seasonal stock out on the shop floor before you open as possible — you can’t sell what they can’t find and you don’t want sales staff away from the shop floor, stocking up, when you are busy.
- Make the windows look super inviting — make the display enticing, engaging and really draw them in. You can even have someone outside, inviting people in for a hot drink and mince pie to warm up while they browse. It won’t cost you much to offer but is a really welcome touch, especially in the bitterly cold weather!
- Make sure you’ve got lots of staff on hand — to assist customers, to sell, to wrap and (sad to say it) to make sure if the shop gets very busy you are not the victim of shoplifting.
- Think about what you can do to make the customer decide to buy from you rather than elsewhere. What are your key value-adds? Is it a unique product? Locally produced? Made in the UK? Handmade? Is it the service? Or your gift wrapping? Perhaps you can deliver to their home that evening or hold for later collection. Do you offer an extended refund policy or warranties?make sure you promote your value-adds.
- Make it fun. Put the festive music on, have some mistletoe in the doorway, wear festive hats, dress up — if your shop looks like the most fun place to be on the high street, a haven of fun, warmth and festive joy, people will want to spend a little longer there, even if they are working against the clock to finish their gift shopping.
So, lots of ideas and I am sure you have plenty more too. The key is to make the most of those two big weekends when footfall should be noticeably increased. And make it a very merry, Indie, Christmas!
Clare Rayner is the author of The Retail Champion: 10 steps to retail success.