A view of the industry through the
eyes of independent and chain retailers.
Haul Out the Holly: It's Christmas Time on the Sales Floor!
Nine way$ to make your Christmas
by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender (December 6, 2010)
December is the best month to be
The store is dressed for the
holidays and the shelves are brimming with wonderful product. Happy
customers come in with lists, looking for the perfect gifts, and
then pick up a little something extra for themselves. Sales are
brisk and that's a good thing.
We're especially busy in
December. One of our favorite things to do each holiday season is --
are your ready? -- shop. Yep, we hit the streets the week before
Thanksgiving and never look back until early January. We stand in
the shadows and just watch customers shop. For hours at a time. And
we are always intrigued by what they do in stores and what they tell
us in exit interviews. The media are interested, too. In December,
reporters come at us from all directions, asking about stores and
shoppers and retailing in general. A few times each December we even
take a reporter shopping with us -- trying to blend in, and keep the
hidden camera hidden; it's always a good time.
We also look forward to the
traditional and off-the-wall things retailers do to attract shoppers
and keep them in the store longer. Every retailer has a trick or two
up their sleeves. We're sure that you do too, but if you haven't
quite tackled that list of things to do to spin your doors this
holiday season, there's still time:
Step outside and consider your store front. Is the customer’s first
impression clean and clear of debris? Are your window displays set
for Christmas, or do they look the same as they did for
back-to-school? Does your window signing properly represent your
brand image? And have you set the appropriate amount of holiday
décor throughout the store to put customers in a shopping mood?
Stand just inside the front door. Customers should be immediately
embraced by your store's ambiance. Your sales floor should smell
like the holidays. Visit ScentAir.com and learn how to enhance the
shopping experience using scent marketing. Or visit your favorite
discounter and pick up a few scent diffusers in holiday fragrances;
place them throughout the store – especially near the front door, so
the fragrance immediately impacts customers just walking in. And if
you sell candles, cross-merchandise a few on or near the checkout
counters. If it smells, it sells!
Another part of your store's
ambiance embrace is music. The right music can actually make
customers stay in the store longer and spend more money while
they’re there. Choose fun music with a good beat, especially when
the store is busy. We like disco – it’s the sound of money.
Check your Decompression Zone -- the first 5 to 10’ just inside your
store’s front door. This is where shoppers refocus and collect
themselves for the shopping ahead. They will miss anything you place
in the Decompression Zone, so put it to work by leaving it empty.
Just beyond the Decompression Zone is where the shopping begins.
Set your Speed Bump displays to sell. Place Speed Bumps -- small
fixtures or tables loaded with cool product -- just beyond your
Decompression Zone. Speed Bumps stop busy shoppers and redirect
their focus to your merchandise. Your Speed Bump displays work just
like the ones in the parking lot: they make you slow down and take
Shopping Carts and Baskets: Know why the Wal-Mart greeter offers
customers a shopping cart when they walk in the front door? Because
customers with carts spend 25% more than they originally intended to
spend, and up to 15 minutes longer in the store.
Place carts just past the
Decompression Zone. Baskets should be near the carts, and also
throughout the store, so they are within reach when a customer
decides she needs one. Encourage associates to watch for customers
carrying product, then get them a cart ASAP. Studies show that
customers stop shopping when their hands are full. If your store
doesn't offer carts or baskets, then watch for customers carrying
around product. They tend to stop shopping when their hands are
full, so take the product from them and set it aside at the cash
Plan Your Impulse Zones: A big percentage of purchases are
unplanned. Take advantage of this by placing Merchandise Outposts --
displays of product used to entice customers to pick up product on
impulse -- throughout your store. Use Outposts as magnets to draw
customers to different parts of the store, to cross-merchandise, and
to display important and high profit product.
Set your End Features to sell
with product customers simply have to have: great new items, hot
deals, and value buys. Try to display three items or less per end
feature, and use Vertical Merchandising -- product displayed in
vertical rows -- as your primary display technique. Vertical
Merchandising exposes customers to a greater variety of merchandise
at every eye level. When shoppers see more, they tend to buy more.
Each of your Impulse Zone
displays should be reset as least once a week, more often if your
store is heavily shopped. This sounds like a lot of work, but it's
not: simply moving items from one Impulse Zone to another makes the
product look brand new to shoppers.
Cross-Merchandise everywhere you can. Cross-merchandising displays
complementary product together, saving shoppers time by making it
easy to visualize how the items will work together.
Cross-merchandise items on clip-strips throughout the store and
you'll encourage add-on purchases and increase your average sale.
It's frustrating for customers to have to make a trip back to the
store because they forgot a critical component necessary to complete
a project. Cross-merchandise and you both win. Clip-strips and other
cross-merchandising fixtures and accessories are available from your
favorite fixture company.
Highlight Gift cards with carefully placed in-store signing, and
encourage store associates to talk them up. Gift card sales are on
the rise; that’s good because they bring customers to your store.
Studies show that 80% of customers spend more than face value of the
gift card, and 40% of customers spend more than twice the face value
of the card. You can’t lose!
Encourage Impulse Buying at the Cash Wrap. Women are infamous for
making purchases on impulse. That's why your cash wrap should be
loaded up with product she just can’t pass up. Put the wall behind
your cash wrap counter to work with a fabulous display of gift
items. You may even want to set up a Merchandise Outpost within
eyeball distance of the cash wrap, so customers can continue to shop
while they wait in line to pay for their purchases.
We wish the strong December
sales lasted all year long, but they don’t – you only have a limited
amount of time to make your Golden Quarter golden. You have to take
advantage of the gift-buying frenzy while you can, so take this
checklist out to your sales floor and do a complete walk-thru. Note
which areas to change, set your priorities and get to work. And if
you need a pep talk, we’re just a telephone call away. Call at the
right time and you just might end up on that hidden camera footage!
A NEW BOOK FOR THE SEASON
Holiday is the most important trading time for
retailers to achieve high, profitable sales. Christmas -- The Golden
Quarter -- usually accounts for 36% of a retailer’s annual sales and
represents the highest level of profitability. Get it wrong and you
can place your future at risk! KIZER & BENDER, along with their
Australia’s Debra Templar, have a new book to help you reach your
Holiday sales goals. It’s an instant gratification e-bBook that’s
loaded with holiday strategies, tactics, tips, techniques and
templates you can easily customize for your own store. Jingle
Bells ... Christmas Sells! will get you through the Christmas
period intact, sane and in profit. To learn more, visit
UPCOMING CHA SEMINARS
Rich and Georganne will be conducting three seminars at the CHA
Conference & Trade Show in Los Angeles in January. Attendees are
charged $25 when they pre-register (or $50 if they register at the
show), but that entitles them to attend all seminars,
workshops, and special events -- for free. However, tickets
are required. Register for the show and reserve your tickets at
Social Media 101: What
You Need to Know to JOIN the Conversation!
Have you heard the buzz about Social Media Marketing,
but you’re not really sure how to get involved? Then this hands-on
seminar is for you! We’ll show you how to use Facebook and Twitter
like a pro. Be sure to bring your laptop because you’re about to get
connected. During Social Media 101, you will:
Set Up Your Own Facebook Account: You’ll learn the
difference between a profile and a fan page, which one is right for
you, how to add photos and video, plus how to use your "Wall" to
market your store.
Set Up a Twitter Account: You’ll learn how to attract
followers, why you need to write re-tweetable Tweets, what that “@”
sign means, how to use the “#” sign to your advantage, how to add
photos, and more.
You’ll learn what you need to know about who you’re
“talking” to on-line, including what to say, and how and when to say
it. You’ll leave this seminar with a list of social media best
practices, everything you need to know to get started, a plan to
follow once you return to business, and more!
BRING YOUR LAPTOP! You’ll leave this hands-on session
with a Facebook and Twitter account created just for your business!
The seminar is Saturday, January 29, 3:00 pm-5:00 pm. Seminar S115,
Advanced Social Media Marketing
You’re up and running on Facebook, and you Tweet like
a pro, but are you getting the most out of your adventures in social
media? The emphasis here is on social; it’s an ongoing cocktail
party: Are you saying the right things to keep followers and fans
engaged? Do your profiles and fan pages do your business justice?
Find out for sure! This hands-on seminar will teach you cutting-edge
skills to help you master social media marketing. You’ll learn:
1. How to Create a Practical – and Easy to
Manage – Social Media Strategy
2. Tips to Improve Your Facebook Fan Page
3. How to Create Tweets that Get Re-Tweeted
4. Smart Ways to Promote Your Business on
Facebook and Twitter
5. What – and What Not – to Say to Encourage
6. The Latest Tools Available to Help You
Manage Your Social Media Accounts, and More.
Be sure to bring your computer! You’ll leave this
session with practical, real-world social media tips and techniques
to help you grow your business!
The seminar is Sunday, January 30, 2:00 pm-3:00 pm. Seminar S124,
A Week in the Life of Creative Industry Independent
Have you ever wondered how other retailers run their
stores? Do they start their days bright and early with a cup of
coffee and a smile? Or do they jump in with both feet just like you,
running from one task to another? Welcome to the world of many hats!
Manager, buyer, sales associate, accountant, social media maven,
chief motivator, janitor, customer comforter, psychiatrist – you
name it, you wear them all! But you’re not alone, retailers across
the country operate their stores much the same as you do. Or do
Join Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender for an in-depth
discovery of what really happens in the world of an independent
retailer.You’ll go inside the day-to-day operations of three
industry independents: one scrapbook, one general crafts, and one
specialty craft retailer. You’ll learn their individual approaches
to advertising, marketing, in-store events and promotions; how they
choose vendors and product lines; how they set their sales floors;
how they motivate their people; where they look for Ah Ha! ideas;
how they set store policies; and more. You’ll see similarities and
maybe even a few “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments. The best
part? You’ll take away ideas and inspiration from others who walk in
shoes just like yours every, single day.
The seminar is Monday, January 31, Noon-1:00 pm.
Seminar S133, Room 502A.
Once again Rich and Georganne will offer free, half-hour
consultations during the show. The sessions are free, but require a
Saturday, Jan. 29: 11:00 am - 11:30 am C0301 ... 11:30 am - Noon
Sunday, Jan. 30: 10:00 am - 10:30 am CO601 ... 10:30 am - 11:00 am
CO602 ... 11:00 am - 11:30 am CO603 ... 11:30 - noon CO604.
Monday, Jan. 31: 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm C1201 ... 2:30 pm - 3:00 pm C1202
... 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm C1203 ... 3:30 - 4:00 pm C1204.
K&B At the Yarn Market News Retail
Rich and Geoganne will lead a seminar, "The Crackle Factor: Taking
Your Business Off Auto Pilot" at the annual Retail Conference
sponsored by Yarn Market News. The conference is Mar. 13-15
in Portland, OR. For info, visit
(Note: Meetings & Conventions
magazine took a survey of meeting planners asking them to name their
favorite speakers/keynote presenters – and Kizer & Bender make the
list, along with such luminaries as Dr. Stephen R. Covey, Mike Ditka,
Bill Gates, Rudy Giuliani, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jay Leno, Colin
Powell, and others.
To read previous columns, click on the titles in the right-hand
KIZER & BENDER Speaking!
Keynotes | Seminars | Consulting | Store Design
103 North 11th Ave., Ste. 206,
St. Charles, Illinois 60174
Phone: 630-513-8020 | 24/7 Mobile: 708-347-2682 Fax: 630-513-8098
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