Flying off the Elves: How Retailers can Reduce Stress and Increase Sales during the Holiday Season Part 1: August

holiday planning

The holiday season can be stressful for almost all retailers. However, by having a plan, staying on schedule, and preparing as much as possible in advance, you can skip the holiday headache and spend more time enjoying the cheer. That’s why we’re launching a series of blogs with tips for retail success during this often trying time. Each month, we’ll let you know what you should be accomplishing and how to creatively and effectively accomplish it in order to stay ahead of schedule. We’ll help make your store stand out, your stress go down and your sales go up. In August, you should begin preparing for the holidays by collecting inspiration, establishing goals and blocking out time in your schedule for additional planning in September.

Step 1: Get Inspired

Your holiday planning process will be much easier and time-efficient if you have an idea of what you want your displays to look like. Visit your favorite source of display inspiration, whether it be scrolling through photos on your phone of favorite displays spotted around town, browsing Pinterest for creative ideas, or visiting a holiday trade show (see how we were inspired by one, below). Bonus points if you do all three! This will help you determine what is trending, and how to best adapt these trends to fit your store’s brand, space and budget.

We visited the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market earlier this month and spotted four trends we’re expecting to see a lot of this season:

1. Market Fresh and Farmstead

Farm-to-table is trending in the food world, and it looks like farm-to-decor will be following suit. Expect to see a lot of warm finishes and tin.

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2. Gold

At NeoCon earlier this year, gold was everywhere. No only is this recurring trend making a splash in the design world, but you’ll be seeing it frequently in holiday displays.

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3. Woodsy Materials

Think rustic, wood, branches, twigs and even pinecones.

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4. Penguins

We were pleasantly surprised to see these charming, wintry birds adorned with festive hats and used as display props in many displays.

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Step 2: Set Goals

Before you officially start planning your displays and marketing efforts, step back for a moment to consider what you want to accomplish this holiday season. Do you want to increase sales by 15 percent? Attract a 20 percent increase in walk-in traffic with your window displays? Host a special holiday promotion or event with 100 attendees? If possible, try to make your goals quantifiable so that you can easily determine when they are met or how close you come to reaching them. Setting goals will not only guide and motivate your holiday preparations, but will also help you measure your success and adapt your strategy once this year’s holiday season is over. So set aside some time to think, make a list of at least five things you want to accomplish this season, and then tuck it away somewhere it won’t get lost in the holiday hoopla.

Step 3: Schedule September

While brainstorming is your focus in August, September will be all about planning. Mark your calendars now to make time for your holiday planning so that this very important step in the preparation process doesn’t get overlooked.

Here are meetings you should schedule for the month of September:

  1. Holiday Display Planning – meet with merchandising staff (or anyone on your team who you think has a keen eye for display).
  2. Marketing, Promotions and Social Media Planning – meet with your marketing staff to determine what kind of sales you’ll be offering and to plan social media content in advance.
  3. Staff Meeting – meet with your team to assign tasks and deadlines, and establish who may be taking vacation time over the holidays.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in this blog for tips on planning eye-catching holiday displays, creating marketing content that will draw customers into your store, and delegating holiday preparation tasks to key staff members.

Need help with your holiday display planning?