Boost Post Holiday Sales
Savvy retailers know the secrets to making the cash registers ring after the New Year has been rung in. Post-holiday slippage is a concern for retailers after the frenzy of the holiday shopping season, but the post holiday shopping season is also rife with opportunity. The in-store foot traffic generated by gift cards, returns and post holiday sales are a potential gold mine for retailers. Effective in-store merchandising and promotions and managing the customer experience are critical success factors in converting the post holiday crowd into ringing registers and improved profits.
Gift cards can be a goldmine.
Gift card redemption can be a key driver of post holiday purchases and profitability. Last year, 53.9% of consumers purchased gift cards as part of their holiday gifting, and gift cards represented a whopping 14.5% of total holiday gift purchases. Gift cards can have a substantial impact on post-holiday retail profits for a number of reasons. Gift cards attract incremental customers - 3% of consumers purchased an item from a store they normally don't shop at while redeeming gift cards. Gift cards also create incremental sales - a full 25% of customers redeeming gift cards purchased an item they had not planned to spend money on. Gift cards also increase the value of a retail sale - 8% of those redeeming gift cards will purchase a more expensive version of the item they are buying, and in 2010, 72% of consumers redeeming gift cards spent more than the value of the card.
Converting a gift card into a tangible purchase can dramatically impact a store's profitability, especially if a gift card program is subject to escheat laws. Under generally accepted accounting procedures (GAAP), retailers cannot recognize revenues from closed loop gift card sales until they are redeemed - instead of showing as revenues, they are shown as a liability. The sooner a gift card is redeemed, the sooner the revenues can be recognized. Some states have escheat laws in place that require gift card breakage (the unredeemed amount on gift cards) to be turned over as unclaimed property. While gift card breakage, also known as gift card spillage, used to represent a large windfall for the retailer, it now presents a risk if the money must be turned over to the state. It is estimated that 10 -19% of gift cards result in breakage. Ensuring ample and attractive post-holiday merchandise, combined with effective in-store promotion and merchandising strategies, can make the difference between a redeemed gift card and one that lingers unspent.
Managing returns can return big dividends.
Returns are also a source of foot traffic. The best possible outcome for a post holiday return is that the customer will end up purchasing more in the store than the value of the return. The secret to converting returns to sales lies in customer engagement, effective merchandising and in-stock product that is attractive to the customer. Take advantage of the return queue to engage customers utilizing post-top signage, media on electronic queuing systems and in-line branding.
Many customers enter the return queue with the expectation that they will receive poor treatment, so when a retailer turns that experience around into a pleasant exchange where customers feel valued and engaged, the brand impact is significant. See the feature article on Best Practices for Processing Returns for ideas on how to create that experience.
Merchandising and promotions matter.
When structuring your post holiday sales, paying attention to store design, inventory selection and merchandising displays can often result in increased consumer purchasing… even on the items that are not on clearance. While the promise of a too-good-to-be-true clearance bargain might lure increased foot traffic into the stores, nothing says the customer must walk out with only clearance merchandise.
Too often, in January, retail store interiors look depressing and depleted. Yet, an upbeat atmosphere will encourage more shopping. Stocking the store with a mix of clearance products and new inventory will help move all merchandise and contribute to higher margins. Engaging merchandising, the overall store atmosphere and strategic product placement can all influence that important decision to buy. Product demonstrations, cross-merchandising, in-store promotions and in-line merchandising are all tools that can help transform a clearance shopper into a potential full-price customer.
For assistance with in-store signage, in-line merchandising, and effective crowd control and queue management systems, contact the retail experts at Lavi Industries.