Three ‘acts’ win customer applause and repeat business.

At the end of a performance, an artist hopes to be called back on stage for an encore. Retailing has a similar goal—for customers to feel so good about their visit that they want to stay longer and come again soon for a repeat experience.

How can you achieve an encore this Christmas? Here are a few tips.

ACT ONE: WINDOW DISPLAYS

Think of your window display as pulling back the curtain so the audience can get a taste of what’s to come. How can the window communicate a sense of nostalgia for this special time of year? Does it express that your store is a great source for fun shopping and great gifts? Does it create a sense of drama that draws traffic?

ACT TWO: FEATURE DISPLAYS

Christmas feature displays set the tone for the entire store experience. Together with the background music, the scents of candles, and a shopkeeper’s cheery greeting, the feature display offers an introduction to the whole customer experience.

Merchandising techniques such as the visual pyramid, great display props, and/or focal points invite shoppers to experience that Christmas feeling of discovering gifts to give to those they love.

ACT THREE: MAKE IT SPECIAL

Since the store has more gift feature areas than just the Christmas feature(s) displays, customers may need some visual help to think about other products as gifts.

Gift bags and boxes. Throughout the store, place tissue-stuffed gift bags or wrapped boxes to suggest that everyday products make great gifts. Use bags or boxes in three sizes to create a consistent message, and price them to sell. Be sure to include these in the window, the main display, and on every gift vignette.

Trees and topiaries. Small trees, real or artificial, decorated or just topped with a bow can keep the Christmas theme going. Fresh herbs, trees, and/or greenery add panache to merchandising.

Out of the Box.

Build a tree from a pyramid of mason jars and place an inexpensive ornament in each one or bits of greenery, ribbons, or bows. Hot glue them and tie them together with a bow or star on top.

Oversize gift tags. Place tags around the store to help customers find gifts for grandparents, teachers, teens, etc. The idea is to create a “here’s a gift to buy” merchandising prompt throughout the store.

FINALE

Gift-wrapping or bagging at Christmastime is a service that you may want to add. Pinterest is a great source of ideas for some simple details that can add so much to how a gift is presented.

Ask a creative friend or employee to offer a gift-wrapping class, such as “Seven Ways to Wrap Christmas on a Budget” or “Wrapping with the Kids.” Offer a coupon to attendees on Christmas merchandise. Be sure to tie on Christmas ornaments or other items as part of the wrapping or bagging ideas presented.

ENCORE

To help stores create retail energy and fun at Christmas, CBA is sponsoring a Facebook contest. Submit photos of the ideas and/or techniques demonstrated in the UNITE workshop or webinars. Several vendors have contributed gifts for the winner. Learn more at cbaonline. org/enter-cbas-facebook-merchandising-contest/.

Also watch two webinars at CBAonline.org/training (Effective Gift Merchandising That Sells and Inspire Customers With Gift-Shopping Experiences) for ideas to create retail energy that says, “Shop here for Christmas.” Be sure to check out our Facebook Merchandising Contest.

—Sherry Morris

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