By Sarah Corbin
When running a business, it's never too late to do a little last minute preparation for the holiday weeks that are upon us. If you haven't done some of these things already - there is certainly enough time to put things in place and see a positive impact over the next few weeks.
Put up a LAST MINUTE GIFTS TABLE
I'm the gal who can quickly put 3-4 items together to make a nice presentation in a basket or bag, when one thing isn't enough, and two things make the best pairing. But most people can't do that. And at this time of year, even those of us that are pretty talented in this area are too strapped for time.
It's best to give some examples for your customers. If you have even a bit of floor space - grab a table, a plain table cloth and group those gifts together. Cello wrap items together with your bows. Display grouped items together with their combined price point. If you feel your customers respond to "bargains" offer a bundle of items that when purchased together gets them a 5% discount.
Example: I have seen more than enough of our gift retailers with locally sourced, natural, fantastic candles - group a candle with a cozy up to the candlelight book of your choice. Group those candles with something in your store and display those items with a combined price.
When combining items for your LAST MINUTE GIFT TABLE try and stick to some basic price points: $25, $35, $50, $100 dollar gifts. (And train your employees on how many of these items you might have in stock. You might be surprised by a last minute corporate gift request)
Package your GIFT CARDS WITH A BONUS
Everyone loves to get gift cards. But I often hesitate to give them because they feel sometimes so impersonal. Make sure you have some gift cards (pre-loaded) with $25, $10, $50 options and connect them with a small item from your store/dining establishment.
Italian Restaurant - Display the cards attached to a bag of your biscotti wrapped with a ribbon.
Chinese Restuarant - Show your gift card attached to a chinese take out box filled with fortune cookies.
Apothecary your specialty? - Attach gift cards to gorgeous ribbon and tie around the necks of some of your smaller hand lotions.
HAVE SOME FUN
People respond well to happy shops, restaurants and businesses. I'm sure you all have your smiles handy already. Truly though, at this time of year, you have to go a little over the top with your happy shop and have a little extra fun to drive sales.
Here's a little list to get you on your own brainstorm
1. Have elf day where your employees and you wear just a little something so that everyone looks like elves.
2. Wrap yourself up with a bow and wear a sign that says, "Ask us to wrap it for you for free."
3. Have a Christmas Carol day where people who sing you a jingle to get an extra 5% off their item or just a candy cane. Some people just can't wait to sing along.
MAKE SURE YOUR HAPPY FACE IS IN YOUR BUSINESS AND OFTEN
Owner presence is important all year, but at this time of year it has an even larger impact. Make sure you are in your business as often as possible. And don't sit in the back office. Stop by each table and say Happy Holidays and thank you during dinners. Be the one who personally wraps each present. Stand out in front of your shop dressed like Santa and say thank you. Hand out candy canes or cookies while people shop and tell them, " I made them myself just last night." Tell them that, even if it is a plate full of red and green oreo's.
GET EMAILS for January
There is never a bad time to add to your customer list. With the guarantee of new faces coming in this holiday, get emails so you can mail out a January THANK YOU coupon or gift to all those folks that stopped in during this pre-holiday shopping season. If anything the faces of folks coming in during January will keep you entertained and on your feet after all the hustle and bustle comes to an end.
I wish all of you the best of luck during this holiday shopping season - hope you have loads of fun.