Top tips to sell more this Christmas

Simon Turner, CEO of Myagi.com, offers retailers ten tips to boost retail sales this Christmas.

Our friends at RetailNext just released their 2015 Christmas predictions, forecasting a 2.8 per cent year-over-year increase in November through December retail sales over the totals for 2014. It is certainly good news, but don’t settle as your golf shop can grab more than its fair share by following these guidelines:

1. Create a true in-store holiday experience. When customers step into your store this Christmas they will be looking for a unique shopping experience, not just a place where they can buy something. Your customers will be looking for the usual array of merchandise, but also for a more festive layout, more staff, extra services, extended opening hours, special deals and promotions.

2. Plan seasonal Christmas hires in advance. Sports Authority, a major sports and outdoor industry retailer, just announced that they are hiring 3,500 holiday workers starting now and continuing through December. The company also intends to convert hundreds of seasonal workers into permanent team members after the holidays. Missing store associates on the floor could lead to frustrated customers and lost sales.

3. Be prepared for webrooming customers with knowledgeable sales associates. It is expected that some two-thirds of holiday shoppers plan to ‘webroom’. This means they will first go online to view and compare products, research prices and consider customer reviews before entering your store. To deal with the new smart shopper ensure that your team gets proper retail training.

4. Focus on upselling and add-on sales. The Christmas season can be a perfect time for add-on sales that increase the average transaction value or ‘ATV’. This is the time of year when the customer may not have a specific purchase in mind, but is looking for something to buy as a gift. In this case, the customer may be delighted to discover not just one item, but additional complimentary items in the same store. This allows the customer to get through his or her holiday shopping list sooner without going from store to store. Identify products that can be bundled together for add-on selling to increase the value of any given sale.

5. Staff up and step up your customer service. It’s proven that if customers walk away from their shopping trip happy, they will likely come back to shop with you and tell their friends to do the same. So get your staff ready to go that extra mile for the customer and train them in proper sales etiquette, gift-wrapping, return policies as well as soliciting feedback via a store survey or comment cards. Give all employees a refresher on store policies and details on Christmas promotions. Consider a customer service contest among your sales staff to see who can get the best feedback from customers.

6. Offer gift cards. The National Retail Federation found that more than half of consumers would like to receive a gift card this Christmas season. It’s true that gift cards are a convenient solution when a customer isn’t sure what to buy and doesn’t want to disappoint with an unsuitable purchase. Gift cards save the buyer time and potential embarrassment. In such cases, almost three-quarters of customers spend more on a purchase than the amount on their gift cards, presenting a great opportunity for more sales. Is your store equipped to accept gift cards and, if not, why not?

7. Showcase trending seasonal gift items. Customers looking to buy gifts during the holidays are often looking for inspiration. Anything you can do to make their shopping journey easier will help the sale happen. Start reviewing your POS data to see what the top six or 10 items trending for the season are. Then let your customers know this with appropriate signage or electronic displays in your stores and by word-of-mouth from your sales associates. If a customer thinks other customers have identified an item as popular and having good value, they may be more likely to buy it.

8. Take precautions to prevent theft in your store. Retail businesses around the world lose billions a year through shoplifting and employee theft. It’s an unfortunate reality that the Christmas shopping season is also prime time for theft in retail stores. In order to minimize the risk of losses, track your inventory and transactions in your point of sale system and conduct background and reference checks on any seasonal staff hires.

9. Get your team online and mobile with retail training. Thanks to tablets and smartphones, your sales associates can train from anywhere at any time. Instead of taking salespeople off the floor to be trained in a back room, adopt the latest technologies that facilitate on demand retail training to provide your staff with knowledge of retail store operations, product knowledge, sales and customer service.

10. Have your best sales associates mentor your seasonal staff. In addition to providing online training for your seasonal staff, you can teach them additional skills on the sales floor. Assign your best sales associates as mentors to help your seasonal team members adapt to the realities of the holiday shopping rush. Your best employees will appreciate this trust and your new seasonal workers will feel more a part of the store team.

Simon Turner is CEO and co-founder of Myagi, the innovative product training and communication platform for retailers and brands. Originally from Melbourne, he has 14 years’ experience in retail, from the storeroom and the sales floor, to a distributor and retailer. Visit Myagi.com for more details.