We’re in the 4th quarter of 2019, and you know what that means — some of the year’s top holidays — Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas are upon us.
The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to increase between 3.5% and 4.4% over 2019, citing the continued growth of the U.S. economy and a rise in consumer spending.
There are certainly reasons to be optimistic this holiday season, but you can’t just rely on a strong economy to bolster your retail performance. If you truly want to win over shoppers in the coming weeks and months, you need to offer a holiday shopping experience that compels them to spend money in your store.
Part of doing that lies in your merchandising efforts.
Your in-store visuals play a critical role in your store’s performance. When implemented correctly, your merchandising will help attract more customers and encourage them to shop.
You should also remember that other retail stores are sure to bring their A-games this quarter, which means your displays have to stand out from the competition.
Need inspiration on how to accomplish this? Here are 7 holiday merchandising tips that you can try in your store.
1. Go for the classic holiday themes
Displays that use traditional holiday elements (e.g., pumpkins = Halloween and Santa Claus = Christmas, blue = Hanukkah) can be very effective in grabbing shoppers’ attention. Classic displays tell people that you have a solution to their holiday needs — whether it’s a new Halloween costume or a present for a loved one.
As such, if you’re looking to attract people who are shopping for a specific holiday, it makes sense to stick with classic holiday themes.
Let’s use Christmas as an example. There are two popular types of Christmas displays. The first is the “winter wonderland” theme, which promotes all things snow; think white Christmas trees, polar bears, snowmen, snowflakes, and more.
Check out this example from Fenwick department store in England. The snow-covered floor and white trees not only created the perfect winter wonderland backdrop, but they made the outfits pop even more.
The big red “STOP” sign is also a nice touch, as it encourages passers-by to stop and look at the merchandise.
If you’re not a fan of the winter wonderland theme, then you can go for the warm, but classic Christmas look. Create a cozy environment using yellow lights or candles, green Christmas trees, and red furnishings.
The following window from Stockmann department store is a great example of a warm Christmas display done right.
2. Opt for a more modern look
If a classic display simply isn’t on-brand, find a way to put your own twist into the usual seasonal themes.
Can you modernize a classic holiday element? Can you implement a more “grown-up” take on a typical tradition?
The right approach varies from one retailer to the next, so figure out what works for your brand and go from there.
Check out the display below. Rather than going for the traditional Halloween look that typically involves big orange jack-o-lanterns, the designer opted for a more subdued approach, and used gold and white pumpkins, along with small bats in the background.
Or consider this example from Havana Boutique. While the display doesn’t have traditional Christmas elements like Santa Claus and snowmen, it still has a Christmas feel to it thanks to all the greenery and lights.
Swap out the traditional blue and glitter for a sleek winter white Hanukkah display.
3. Spell it out for them
Create holiday displays that show AND tell. If there is a call to action that you want to emphasize, it helps to reinforce your messaging through signage.
Consider this display from Trader Joe’s, which offers some autumn food pairing recommendations as well as suggestions for how each product can be enjoyed.
Check out this example from Sprouts, which has clear signage saying “Great gifts” attached to the shelf.
4. Be immersive
Merchandise your store in such a way that it immerses your customers into the holiday festivities.
Immersive retail experiences enable you to tell your brand story and showcase your products in a more compelling way — ultimately inspiring customers to make a purchase.
To pull it off, dedicate a section or corner of your store to a single holiday story. Incorporate products or fixtures that are in line with your theme, then make sure that everything feels cohesive.
One example of a retailer that does this well is Target. Here’s a photo from this year’s “Hyde and Eek Boutique,” a special corner at Target stores dedicated to all things Halloween.
Or their Hanukkah shop easily identifiable by the traditional blue signage.
5. Keep your deals front and center
Running seasonal offers or gift promotions? Use your displays to get the word out. Incorporate attention-grabbing signage into your holiday merchandising to tell people about your offers, and make sure the products are easy to grab.
Here’s an excellent example from Sephora. The retailer used a large lit display featuring its weekly holiday deals. Sephora also made it simple for shoppers to check out the items by having some of the products out of the box.
6. Create displays for different personas
Use your in-store merchandising to guide shoppers through their gift-buying journeys. One way to do this is to curate products based on gift personas. Think about the people that your customers would be buying gifts for, then create collections so shoppers can view the products in one place.
For instance, if you know that your customers would be buying gifts for their mothers, curate your top mom-centric products into a display. For best results, throw in a helpful sign telling shoppers about the collection.
Nordstrom did just that last year when it created displays for various giftees. Here’s one for the “beauty buff.”
7. Link your offline merchandising to your online store
If you take a closer look at Nordstrom’s signage above, you’ll notice a QR code that lets people browse more products online. It’s a simple touch, but it can be quite effective if you have a wider selection on your eCommerce site that you want people to see.
Not a fan of QR codes? Then simply add your website URL onto your signage to remind people to shop your selection online. Target does just that in its “Hyde and Eek Boutique.”
To maximize eyeballs, Target put its URL right above a mirror. It’s a clever move as Target knows that people will likely check out their reflections — and notice the website URL in the process.
Consider doing something similar in your business. If you’re selling on multiple channels, use your in-store merchandising to bridge the gap between your online and offline stores.
Additional holiday merchandising tips
We’ve looked at some great examples of holiday merchandising done right, and we hope the retailers above inspired your own efforts.
To further improve your chances of success, here are some additional tips that you can use in your merchandising initiatives this quarter:
While aesthetics are important, the performance of your merchandising primarily depends on the products you’re promoting. It doesn’t matter how attractive a display is; if the items don’t resonate with your shoppers, you won’t drive sales.
For this reason, it’s essential to make data-backed merchandising decisions. Dig into your retail reports. What products sold out last year? Which two or three items were frequently bought together? Were the merchandising program even executed in full at all locations?
The answers to these questions should inform your merchandising efforts.
Be ready to restock and rearrange
The holidays bring in more traffic, and while this is largely good news, it does mean you and your team will need to work harder to keep your store in top shape. This is particularly true when it comes to your displays. As more people browse through your store, you can expect your displays to look more disheveled than usual.
So, keep a close eye on your shelves and fixtures and make sure there’s always someone who can swoop in to rearrange and restock your displays when necessary.
Audit your campaigns
Q4 is a critical time for your retail store, so see to it that your merchandising programs are on point.
The best way to do this is to conduct retail merchandising audits to determine if your stores’ displays are up to snuff.
Go through your stores and audit things like:
- Planogram compliance
- Correct positioning and facings
- Correct pricing information
- Whether or not shelves are adequately stocked
- Correct signage and labels
Use retail audit software like Compliant IA to make this task easier. Compliant IA has all the features you need to run efficient audits including smart checklists, collaborative calendars, photo verification, and action plans among other things.
Click here to learn more about how Compliant IA can help you take your holiday merchandising programs to the next level!
There are tremendous opportunities to drive sales and engagement in Q4 — be sure to seize them. Use the merchandising tips and examples above to create displays and experiences that holiday shoppers won’t soon forget.
Good luck and happy holidays!
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