How retailers can boost their Christmas sales
“We decide our range partly based on guidance from Spar and Blakemore, and partly by looking at what happened last year. We’ll break past sales down, department by department, so in confectionery we’ll look at gifting versus tree decorations versus sharing bags, and try to draw out any trends, such as sharing bags in confectionery.
“There’s also now a tradition where children do buy Christmas presents for their teachers, so we want to have a range of small gift options to fill that need – these also double as good stocking fillers.
“There are some products that sell very well – we had big bars of Galaxy as one of our ‘12 deals of Christmas’ last year and sold five boxes in two days. Then I also like to have a few slightly different things, such as Lindt Chocolate Reindeers and Blakemore’s chocolate Brussels sprouts.
“You’ve got to keep your range alive: just selling standard stock on a deal isn’t enough to bring people into your store.”
“We get promotions from Premier and there tend to be some very good offers around Christmas. Last year, we had jars of Quality Street at a lower price than the supermarkets. I bought a pallet in advance, knowing that we’d shift them – and then five weeks before Christmas, we bought another one.
“We had the right range, at the right price, and we had it in stock. Our confectionery sales were through the roof as a result.
“We use PoS and a seasonal bay to drive Christmas confectionery sales in our store. But more important is social media, which is perhaps our most powerful tool. We have 18,000 followers on Facebook and 9,000 on Instagram.
“Our staff are very active encouraging customers to try different products and we also run lots of competitions – last Christmas, we gave away a games console. It’s key to driving footfall and definitely works well for pushing Christmas confectionery.”
“We stick to what we know we can sell, plus a couple of extra premium lines. We don’t bother selling tubs of sweets, for example, because we know we can’t compete with the supermarkets: it costs us more to buy them than they sell them for.
“Instead, we focus on tried-and-tested stuff: we sell a lot of the tubes and boxes of chocolates, and big chocolate bars – Galaxy, Dairy Milk and so on.
“We also try to select a few more premium options, which some customers are looking for. Usually we’ll stock some pretty biscuit tins and Ferrero Rocher pyramids, as we have a few regular older customers who do their weekly shop in here anyway. If they have carers, they’ll be willing to spend a little more to get them something nice, so we want a few options to encourage them to trade up.”
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