christmas, shop, independentOver the past few weeks we have been preparing our shop for the expected uplift in trade as we move towards Christmas. Although we have experienced more than 20 Decembers before in our shop they all have set their own challenges.

Last year we were recovering from a burglary and didn’t really get into the Christmas spirit, it was more a case of getting through it as best we could. This year we have been much more focused on the opportunities across the store. Here are some of the things we have done:

  • Created a store front promotional display.
  • Extended our confectionery space to effective merchandise our Christmas range by borrowing space from snacks.
  • Christmas cards display along other seasonal stationery lines has been created using space normally used for grocery.
  • The magazine category has seen us ensure good availability of the higher volume December issues of titles like BBC Good Food, Good Housekeeping and Woman & Home. Shortly to be followed with the Christmas double issue of Radio Times. To aid sell thought we have double facings and extra displays in high traffic areas of the store.
  • In our Off Licence area we are focusing on the best of our promoted lines ensuring good an uncluttered display on the categories promotion fixture.
  • Other categories of our store have been checked over to ensure a focus on December sales.
  • Correct merchandising is important, but extra sales will be generated by being in stock of products that get a seasonal uplift like padded envelopes, brown paper and Sellotape. In the Grocery category there are the items needed for baking like dried fruit, marzipan, apricot jam and ready made icing.
  • Equally important are the consumables that we use in running the business such as bags, labels, till and card machine rolls. As we have a Post Office as an integral part of our store we have ensured that we have all the high volume items that we will need during the peak posting weeks.

Planning for the important trading month of December for us started with a review of what went well or badly the previous year and we under took ours before News Year’s Day. Even after more than 20 years running our business we still have things to learn.

And then there is a need to advertise what we are doing to our customers of course.

Lets hope bad weather doesn’t get in the way.