October 8, 2018

What are you doing to make the most of the coming holiday gift-giving season? No matter what type of store you own, if you do nothing but business as usual, you will probably see an uptick in sales because of the multiple holidays during the October to December period, simply because the U.S. consumer is conditioned to buy during these months. If on the other hand, you take the time to develop a holiday sales strategy, you should be able to achieve an even better gross sale.

According to the National Retail Federation, approximately 30 percent of all retail sales in the U.S. will be made during the fall and winter holidays. If you have experienced similar numbers in the past, isn’t it time to gear up and look for new and unique ways to capitalize on the gift giving season?

One of the best ways for small businesses to increase sales, no matter what your store specializes in, is to encourage impulse sales. Although every customer may have different reasons for visiting your store—such as replenishing consumables or to solve a problem—most are susceptible to displays of unique, interesting or price advantaged product displays.

A recent CreditCards.com poll shows that five out of six American shoppers admit to making impulse purchases, 79 percent of which took place in physical storefronts. Stores have a leg up on being able to tightly control the shopping experience, particularly compared to their online retail counterparts.

To create an environment for successful impulse buying, you must sell intelligently. Anticipate your customers’ needs: Think about everything your customers might need, then stage as many of those items as you can (plus any other holiday specials you’re hoping to sell) close to the checkout area.

Here are a few simple ideas to consider when creating an impulse sales strategy:

Gift cards are a great impulse-buy, not to mention a great stocking-stuffer. Just make sure they look professional and make the deal really good. It’s a gift, so it may bring in new customers that wouldn’t have otherwise visited your store.

The checkout area is the most obvious place for impulse items, but you should also take advantage of the front of your store. The first display that shoppers see should make a strong impression, grabbing their attention and also, if possible, you should try to cross market other non-price sensitive, similarly themed products. It might just start the impulse sale process and could evolve into an important purchase.

Think seriously about offering product categories you don’t usually inventory. Work with your distributor sales person for ideas and see about getting help with inventory control. If you normally sell only dog food, try putting together a crate-training kit in small, medium and large. Some manufacturers will even provide display stands; go one step further and display a category of products that you don’t usually carry. A dozen aquarium starter kits in a prominent place will get noticed by your customer who has come in to buy their monthly supply of dog food. Even if you don’t sell aquatic items year-round, aquarium starter kits are a perfect impulse gift. Keep in mind that people who have dogs might also want a starter aquarium kit for their child.

The old standard dog and cat stockings are popular impulse items. Check with your distributor for open stock stockings and headers and stuff them with overstock treats and toys from your normal inventory. Aquatic stores can offer the same concept, working through their distributor to get special pricing on the food and treats the store usually recommends as well as
essential maintenance items or decor. Google “Tropical Fish Goody Bags” to see what’s available in fish gift bags. This same scenario can be considered for birds or any other pet a store may specialize in, as long as the items are something that will attract the customer’s attention.

The bottom line is, be inventive—create a plan for the holidays that allows you to sell products that you might not always stock, giving your regular clientele something that will encourage an impulse buy. Discuss options with your distributor sales person; they will be your biggest asset. No one wants you to succeed more than your distributor sales person does!

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