Chris Dillon speaks to top retailers and progressive suppliers to find out the 12 things you must do this Christmas.

1. Get started as early as possible

“We’ve had biscuits, tubs of sweets and chocolates out for seven weeks now and we’ve already sold a great deal of them. We sell them at discounted prices in the run up to Christmas and add more margin in the last week."

"Festive bouquets of flowers do well and placing Christmas crackers near the till a few days before boosts sales.”

Harj Gill, Select & Save –
 The Windmill, Birmingham

2. Cash in on family parties

“Soft drinks are key to the profit opportunity, as consumers look to stock up on their favourite brands. Large pack formats and multipacks will be in high demand as shoppers prepare for family gatherings and parties.”

Adrian Troy, AG Barr
head of marketing

3. Don't forget your licensing

“If you aren’t licensed to sell alcohol all day at Christmas, apply for a Temporary Events Notice to cover your back. With so many offers out there, I’d advise simplifying things with just a few prices to make it as simple as possible for people to shop." 

"Simple cross-merchandising works well for us, like goose fat next to the spuds and cranberry sauce and bread sauce by the meats.”

Adam Hogwood, Budgens of Broadstairs, Kent

4. Make boxed chocolate simple

“Boxed chocolates can be a confusing category to shop. You should make it simple by stocking the most premium and expensive items at the top of the fixture and less expensive gifts at the bottom." 

"Single-flavoured products, like Ferrero Rocher, are usually given to share and assorted chocolates are more likely to be bought as a gift just for them.”

Levi Boorer,
Ferrero customer
development director

5. Go big on snacks

“The top four selling weeks for sharing crisps fall over Christmas time. People will head to their local store for a last-minute stock up on festive food, and of all the snacking categories, large sharing shows the highest expandability – if people buy more, they eat more." 

"So make sure you have an eye-catching display in the run up to Christmas”

Simon Smith, Kellogg’s
impulse sales business lead

6. Get shoppers in the Christmas mood

“We have to spread the festive spirit despite many customers having a cynical attitude towards Christmas. Samples of mince pies is a good idea. You should put on lots of attractive offers, make use of PoS and promotions and use all your space for displays.“

Anish Parekh, Londis Broadoak Road Post Office, Manchester

7. Encourage impluse spending

“Three treats are bought every second during Christmas, making it a key format for retailers. In the early part of the season, impulse products are the perfect reward after a hard day’s Christmas shopping.”

Bep Dhaliwal,
Mars Chocolate trade communications manager
 

8. Keep your staff happy

“The most important advice for me is to be happy, enjoy it and get your staff and customers into the Christmas spirit. Mince pies and port go down well on Christmas Day and we also run samples of festive treats leading up to the day." 

"Stick to a core range and remember you don’t have to be the cheapest.”

Harj Dhasee, Mickleton Village
Stores (Nisa), Gloucestershire 

9. Offer a range of prices

“You should help shoppers manage their Christmas spending by giving them a choice of impulse treats and stocking fillers with products under £1. You should stock up on gifts in the lead up to Christmas and make sharing lines available throughout as social occasions increase towards the big day.”

Susan Nash, Mondelez International
trade communications manager

10. Engage on social media

“Seasonal sales can be improved by marketing confectionery on social media, such as Facebook. This will increase the chance of sales and help you build up a loyal following that can be directly  contacted with offers or promotions. Keep the tone informal and make sure the posts are honest and clear.” 

Paul Siviter, Hancocks sales
& marketing director

11. Cash in on forgotten presents

“We're normally big on Christmas once Halloween is over, although we have had wrapping paper out for a while. Make sure you have a good range of USB cables, plugs and boxed chocolates for those last-minute presents. We find that blocks of ice cream are good sellers over the festive season.”

Simon Lunn, Simply
Fresh Weare, Somerset

12. Build a buzz in the final days

“We run a twelve days of Christmas promotion alongside our regular offers where we do a different deal each day up to Christmas Eve. We also have a silly Christmas hat photo booth in the store on Christmas Eve and put the pictures on Facebook.”

Anita Nye, Eldred Drive
Stores (Premier), Kent