National Retail Federation – Retail is Detail, Especially for the Q4 Holiday...

National Retail Federation – Retail is Detail, Especially for the Q4 Holiday Sell


You’ve seen the statistic a thousand times if you’ve seen it once – the holiday/Q4 retail sales numbers usually represent as much as 30-40 percent of what retailers do for the entire year. Okay, we know you get it – the holiday sell is REAL important to your yearly bottom line.

With that said, here’s a few additional tips based on NRF/BIGresearch surveys done over the last few years.

• Most consumers shop from a list of people they’re going to buy for, not from a list of items to specifically buy. There are certain items they know they want to buy but with almost every customer there is an opportunity to suggest additional products for people on their lists. The key to maximizing your holiday opportunities is to find out who is on the list and then suggest products for them. Focusing on increasing the number of products sold per sale during the holidays isn’t just smart business, it is great customer service. Customers want and need help with their list. All we have to do is ask.

• As is the case most years, it is expected that shoppers will take advantage of sales and discounts during the holiday season to spend an additional $100 or so on themselves.

Over the last few years the amount a person spends on him/herself during the holidays has increased. Obviously this offers retailers a considerable opportunity to grow their sales if they make “buy yourself a present” part of their overall holiday strategy. First, focus on increasing the amount customers buy for themselves when you’re training staff for the holiday. Teach the staff that approximately 13 percent of a total purchase is for the buyers him/herself. Have them ask every gift buyer, “How about one for you?” You might also offer a savings on the second item. While many customers may pass on “one for themselves,” you have planted a seed and they may very well come back post-holiday and purchase the item then.

• According to the last several NRF/BIGresearch shopping surveys, over 40 percent of consumers will begin their holiday shopping this year before Halloween. At this point, this statistic should surprise no one and clearly tells us all that there is no need to wait until Santa hits the mall to help customers complete their list and maximize our holiday opportunities. If retailers properly engage customer when they are in the store they can learn why they are in the store and if they are holiday shopping.

• The numbers attached to gift cards seem to grow every year and time-crunched consumers have always found this gift a reliable way to eliminate stress during this most stressful time of year. Well, here’s a few points of interest culled from NRF research regarding gift cards you should be aware of.

Every customer should be offered the opportunity to purchase a gift card this holiday, regardless of what you sell. However, while most consumers love to receive gift cards, apparently many don’t really like to give them. Research shows that a large percentage of consumers feel they just don’t receive the same satisfaction buying a gift card as they do in picking out a specific item to give. NRF recommends that you invest in some small gift boxes or other method to dress up the gift card and add a bit more “theater” to the purchase itself. Romancing them a bit will make the buyer feel a lot better about their gift card purchase.

Ultimately remember: never be too busy to maximize your opportunities. As it is often said, “Retail is Detail” and that phrase takes on a whole new meaning in Q4.