Consumer trends see Christmas come early

With Harrods and Selfridges opening their Christmas stores a full five months before the big day, retailers are preparing for an earlier than usual festive rush this year as consumers look to spread out their spending, says Debra Jamieson, Sales & Marketing Director of point of sale market leaders, UK Point of Sale (UK POS). This is a dream come true for retailers, who are looking for ways to balance out the summer lull and ensure they have a profitable end to the year. Seasonal trends has always been a popular topic amongst retailers and suppliers but now consumer trends are changing and setting the agenda for the rest of us; thinking about Christmas in June, and swapping sangria for Santa hats, is no longer as absurd as it once was.

Being organised is crucial and having a watertight strategy to engage with the hundreds of thousands of potential customers that are wandering the high street with their Christmas list is key. After you’ve enticed customers into your stores you need to be thinking about impulse buying and cross-selling… here are some tips to make sure you’ve covered the basics…

Changing consumer trends see Christmas come early
With Harrods and Selfridges opening their Christmas stores a full five months before the big day, retailers are preparing for an earlier than usual festive rush this year as consumers look to spread out their spending, says Debra Jamieson, Sales & Marketing Director of point of sale market leaders, UK Point of Sale (UK POS).

This is a dream come true for retailers, who are looking for ways to balance out the summer lull and ensure they have a profitable end to the year. Seasonal trends has always been a popular topic amongst retailers and suppliers but now consumer trends are changing and setting the agenda for the rest of us; thinking about Christmas in June, and swapping sangria for Santa hats, is no longer as absurd as it once was.

Being organised is crucial and having a watertight strategy to engage with the hundreds of thousands of potential customers that are wandering the high street with their Christmas list is key. After you’ve enticed customers into your stores you need to be thinking about impulse buying and cross-selling… here are some tips to make sure you’ve covered the basics…

Get inside your customer’s heads
Understanding your clientele is fundamental to your store’s success and is something to bear in mind when promoting special offers through point of sale (POS). The other factor to consider is the style of POS items used to promote such offers. If stores are higher-end, they should go for a better quality of POS materials. Wooden framed display cards with chalkboard inserts or flex pavement holders are an excellent option. Alternatively, stores that drive sales predominately through offers should use cost effective alternatives such as plastic framed display cards or re-useable adhesive ticket holders where offers and promotions can quickly and easily be changed.

Think about how your store looks to a customer
Essentially POS positioning is just as important as the special offer it promotes, so make the most out of available space, both inside and out. Is there enough room for a pavement sign that’s visible to customers approaching the store? Once in store, is there a particularly favoured route customers take to get to the checkout/till? If so, maximise the use of that section/aisle to promote any special festive offers and deals with poster holders and ceiling danglers at the entrance, to merchandising strips, show cards and shelf talkers down the dedicated aisle and branded impulse bins at the checkouts. This fluidity will pass on the necessary visual cues that turn browsers into buyers.

Don’t forget the importance of your shop window
Window merchandising on the high street is an extremely important part of a customer’s shopping experience. Ensuring a shop window really stands out and that special offers and promotions are clearly on show will make all the difference. The obvious forms of POS ideal for such displays include window poster holders or deli tickets. But displaying your products effectively is just as important, which is where display bridges and support stands come into play. Chrome finishes or clear fittings, rather than white plastic fittings, are affordable, but provide a more sophisticated finish. Clear or frosted items display colours really clearly too, whilst offering a consistent backdrop. Don’t forget to pick a colour that accentuates your brand values i.e. black is perceived as sophisticated and seductive, whereas white is perceived as pure and clean. What’s more, stick to it throughout the year; it’s far better to accentuate your core colour with additional colours than change it completely.

Keep pushing the key messages when customers are in-store
Take advantage of the huge run up to the festive period and the excitement that it generates and think of alternative ways to promote it such as mulled wine or Christmas cake recipe cards in counter top leaflet dispensers, or festive hampers on display supports. Despite the current economic uncertainty, consumers are often prepared to spend that little bit extra to make it a special occasion; shop owners just need to push them in the right direction through the use of attractive, quality POS.

There’s nothing worse than tired looking POS
Nothing is more off-putting than seeing a poster put up by sticky tape or an old worn and torn ‘A’ Board sitting outside the front of a store looking unloved. POS should look clean, streamlined and most importantly professionally consistent to draw customers in. This can easily be achieved by investing in new POS materials and print. You know how the saying goes, first impressions count, so make the most of your store’s appearance. Going bespoke is a fantastic idea too, if budgets permit, as it can really make your products (especially those extra special ones that deserve a little bit more investment) stand out.  Just remember not to add too many items to your display – less is more – but it’s always a good idea to showcase a range of your products (from the lowest price point to the highest) so your store is inviting and appealing to all. Here’s to a successful Christmas for all concerned!

UK POS has been manufacturing point of sale products for over 20 years and is continually adapting to changing market trends when it comes to working with retailers to market their offers. Best selling products include banner frames and snap frames. For more information on UK POS please visit www.ukpos.com or speak to a member of the experienced customer services team on 0161 431 4400. Follow UK POS on Twitter at http://twitter.com/UKPOSGroup and join the company on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UKPOS.