How to plan a Christmas promotion in your retail shop

Published: 22/09/2021

It's time to start planning your Christmas promotions in time for the holiday season in order to ensure it’s the most successful one yet.

A properly thought out promotion can bring in the big bucks - more customers, more sales, more money in your back pocket - but how do you get it just right?

With proper planning! And in this article, we’re here to hold your hand through the whole process.

Set your objectives

What are you hoping to achieve with your Christmas promotion? Is it just more sales? Do you want to draw in new customers with your offer? Introduce a new item? 

Setting this out in stone before you hit the ground running is a super sensible idea as it’ll guide the direction of your promotion.

For example, if you want to just make more sales (and who wouldn’t?) then opting to include your best selling item(s) in your promotion is likely to hit the spot. On the other hand, if you want to bring in new customers and turn them into lifelong buyers then something like a discount for first-time buyers or loyalty scheme members could work wonders. 

How will you work out if your promotion met its objectives? Pounds in the pocket is one obvious way (particularly if more sales was your aim), but if it was getting more people through the door then why not collect email addresses in exchange for the promotion so you can tally up how many new subscribers you’ve amassed come the new year? 

Decide what to include

With your objective in mind decide what to include in your promotion - will it be your best sellers? New arrivals? A buy one get one half price involving both? 

It’s key to work this out pronto for two reasons:

  • Firstly, because you need to ensure you’ve ordered enough of it in ample time to arrive before the Christmas rush and meet consumer demand.
  • Secondly, because you’ll then need to sit down and crunch the numbers to work out how much to discount by in order for it still to make financial sense for your business.

Remember, at Christmas, everyone loves a gimmick - it’s a frenzied time where the rules which apply for the rest of the year go out of the window, so don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. You could tie your promotion to the 12 days of Christmas and discount a different item every day, for example. 

Place your order

With step two in mind next up you need to order your promotional items. Getting this done as soon as you can will ensure you’re not left waiting once your doors reopen and spend-happy shoppers hit the high street once more. 

Top tip: Use last year’s sales figures to help guide your order - this will help ensure you don’t over or under order and leave yourself short or with excess stock to shift. 

When in contact with your suppliers and couriers don’t forget to ask the important question - when do I need to order by to ensure delivery in time?

Remember: You might be able to negotiate a discount for bulk orders, so don’t be afraid to ask!

Psst… If you do end up with promotional stock left over come January, you can always include it in your January sales.

Product placement

Okay so you know what you’re promoting and your order’s been made, but where will your piece de resistance be placed in your shop?

Product placement is huge for retailers - it can elicit impulse spending and larger basket sizes dramatically, so nailing yours is mission-critical.

There’s heaps of research on the subject, but here are a few top tips for success:

  • Think about eye line - too low down and your promotion might go unnoticed, too high up and your vertically challenged customers will walk straight past it - middle for diddle is likely to be the sweet spot.
  • Don’t hide your promotion away at the back of your store - what if your customers don’t head back there? Somewhere between the door and your point of sale will be difficult to miss. 
  • Hands up if you’ve ever made a last-minute impulse purchase at the till? We know we’re guilty, it could be a bag of sweets or a pack of tissues, but placing products near the point of sale is shown time and again to encourage further spending, so use this to your advantage.

Training

Unless you’re an outfit of one (and give yourself a pat on the back if you are!) you’ll need to train your workforce on the ins and outs of your promotion.

There’s nothing more frustrating as a consumer than when a member of staff can’t answer a question, so you need to clue yours up to keep your customers happy.

Tell them:

  • Which items are being promoted, 
  • How the discount works (do customers need to sign up to your newsletter?), 
  • What happens if stock runs out (will it be an ‘until stocks last’ promotion or will you be ordering more?),
  • To ask customers if they’re interested in the offer at the point of sale (unless that’s what they’re buying, of course).

There’s a fine line between pushy and informative, but strike the balance and customers who mightn’t have known your promotion existed could be edged over the line at checkout.

Don’t forget: Make sure all your staff are crystal clear on how to use your payment solutions too! 

Payments

One enduring trend off the back of COVID-19 is the switch from cash to card payments.

How does this relate to promotions? Well, you could turn customers away if you don’t offer them a safer way to pay - on plastic. We know the idea of a lost sale is the stuff of nightmares for retailers, so the takeaway is, if you haven’t already, now’s the time to upgrade your payments systems to reflect this societal shift.

On the subject of payments, if you have an EPOS till system in your shop, don’t forget to input your promotion so any discounts are automatically applied at checkout. It’ll make your life so much easier when it comes to making sales, and will mean no customer is left in the awkward position of having to question the price (this can lead to a lot of frustration!).

Plus, with an EPOS till system (like ours!) your inventory will be updated with each sale too, so you’ll know where you’re up to and be able to order more stock pronto if necessary. 

Don’t have an EPOS till system yet? What are you waiting for! We can get you set up with our market-leading solution in plenty of time for Christmas!

Marketing 

You’ve put all the behind the scenes work in getting to this point, so now it’s time to dig your jingle bells out and start spreading the word on your fabulous festive promotion. 

Our advice? Use every avenue at your disposal, including:

  • Emails - check out our guide to nailing it.
  • Social media - anywhere you’ve got a presence - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or all of the above and more, and don’t forget videos are a big hitter in 2021.
  • Website - put it for all to see on your landing page to catch the most attention.
  • Print - think articles, magazines, and/or flyers - but you’ll need to get this sorted ASAP before they go to print. 
  • Window displays - catch the eye of passers-by with a showstopping window display and they won’t be able to resist a peek.
  • A poster - make it bright and unmissable explaining your promotion in a clear and concise way. 

We hope it’s your best Christmas for sales yet, and if you follow our seven-step guide you’re sure to be ho-ho-ho-ing into 2022.

Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce

Copywriter

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