Are You Ready for Holiday 2017?

With Halloween in the rear view mirror, retailers are shifting their attention to refreshing their stores’ appearance and merchandising mix in anticipation of the busiest shopping season of the year: Holiday. Holiday retail sales are expected to increase between 3.6-4% from 2016, with the average consumer expected to spend an average of $1,226 during the 2017 holiday shopping season.

Retailers are being handed a holiday helper this year, as there will be four Saturdays in December prior to Christmas Day–a calendar occurrence that hasn’t happened since 2012. This extra weekend shopping day will give retailers an added opportunity to drive sales this holiday season. Eighty percent of shoppers expect the majority of their buying to take place in late November and onward, but decisions about where they’ll shop and what they’ll buy is largely determined by how effective retailers are at building an enticing and memorable shopping experience.

Are you ready for Holiday 2017? Are your marketing programs built to drive basket purchases during peak shopping days? Do you have a flexible program to refine your holiday strategy due to competitive pressures? Here are a few considerations to make your Holiday 2017 a success:

Be Prepared for Both Peak Traffic & Gray November

According to ShopperTrak, the 10 busiest shopping days will account for between 40% and 45% of all store visits made during the entire 2017 holiday season. For retailers, it’s imperative that merchandise is in stock and messaging is heightened to take advantage of shopper traffic and buying behavior.

Source: ShopperTrak 2016 Retail Observations

Consumers tend to shop in three stages during the holiday season. Between early November and Cyber Monday, shoppers tend to purchase larger gifts and cart sizes are at the maximum in terms of value. From early December to the third week of the month, consumers perform “fill in” shopping, or buying products that are not big ticket, such as gifts for friends and co-workers. However, the number of items in the cart tends to be larger and impulse buying plays a vital role in this purchasing stage. The final shopping stage happens the last week before Christmas, when the procrastinators finally shop and purchasing peaks.

While Black Friday continues to be the premier peak shopping day, many retailers will begin their holiday marketing when the calendar flips to November, giving way to Gray November, a month-long discounting period. In 2016, Walmart started its Black Friday deals on November 18th, a full week before Thanksgiving, which caught some retailers unprepared. Planning for an extended holiday season will allow you to better balance the types of promotions and discounts you may offer with retail’s early movers.

Nail the Four C’s

As a marketer, one way to evaluate the usefulness and success of your holiday point-of-purchase material is to employ the Four C’s methodology. Developed by MarketingLab President Richard Butwinick, and adopted by Path to Purchase Institute, the Four C’s represent a cognitive step the shopper experiences when engaged with POP materials.

The Four C’s are:
Command” attention
Connect” with shoppers
Convey” key information
Close” the sale

This experiential retail methodology follows consumer engagement throughout the path-to-purchase process. It is important for retail designers and planners to keep these point-of-purchase execution steps in mind to create the best retail environment this holiday season. Triggering that emotional, on-the-spot purchase can be an important tool for retailers to drive holiday spending. For instance, Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics saw a 30% increase in sales during the 2016 holiday, compared to a year earlier. This increase was largely due to improvements made to the store’s layout, which encourages consumers to touch, sample, and smell its products.

Utilize POP Elements to Grab Attention & Drive Impulse

Consumers tend to shop differently during the holidays. With stress and crowds high and patience and time short during the holiday shopping season, consumers will typically become frustrated if they can’t easily find what they’re looking for. Unlike other times of the year, there can be a strong sense of urgency as people have a lot of shopping to do.

With only three seconds to capture a consumer’s attention with your message, a well-designed visual communications strategy can boost impulse purchases. Imagine! is well positioned to assist retailers in delivering an effective messaging strategy at-retail. Elevate the in-store moment by adding POP elements to drive more unplanned purchases this holiday season.

Integrate elements: floor graphics, window clings, danglers, wobblers, wraps, & props

Have a Contingency Program

During the holidays, many retailers are challenged to keep up with shifting consumer demands, and defend against ever-changing competitor promotions. A flexible marketing program executed at the store level can eliminate slow moving inventory and capitalize on successful sales efforts. Move more merchandise this holiday season with Quick-Turn Marketing from Imagine!

We move at the speed of retail. Imagine! has the horsepower to print, finish, kit and ship promotional signage in days not weeks. Our quick-turn digital production capabilities allows you to supplement your signage program based on weekly shopping conditions. Give us art on a Monday and we can have your contingency signs in stores by Friday.

December is the busiest month for shoppers to hit stores. As you analyze store inventory levels, turn to Imagine! to help push any slow moving product or overstock out the door. We can turn your supplemental promotional signage around in just 48 hours, giving you a reliable contingency plan to compliment your holiday program.