How to be a festive destination
Start planning early
As soon as suppliers start sending over their spring catalogues, sit down with your team and talk about what products you could bring in for the holidays—and how to cross-promote them with existing merchandise and services. “You have to be organized and have the time to train your team on the products you’re bringing in,” says Frank Yunace of Pete’s Frootique, where additional holiday staff is hired in the fall and planning starts as early as May. Yunace also suggests spending time this holiday season really noting what kinds of products and services are selling best so you can adjust your offerings accordingly for next year.
Tailor holiday offerings to your demographic
Determining what specialty items to bring in for the holidays depends largely on your customer base. If a significant number of shoppers come from a European background, for example, high-quality crackers, spreads and chocolates from Europe will be appreciated. At Pete’s Frootique’s two Nova Scotia stores, British-themed food items have become so popular during the holidays they now take up a central part of the store.
If you don’t have the capacity to make decadent themed desserts in-house, partner with a local bakery to bring in some special holiday sweets. Or collaborate with a florist to provide beautiful centrepieces you can sell at a premium. People will pay for the convenience of a one-stop shop.
Make sampling sensational
Part of holiday entertaining is trying a little of this and that, so extend that idea into your store with plenty of sampling during the holiday season. Field Agent’s Jeff Doucette says it’s all about engaging people by providing a story about a product’s origins, as well as a recipe or solution on how to
use it over the holidays. “It’s about the customer experience and not just about getting that morsel of food in their hands.”
Create a holiday atmosphere
Whether that’s changing your playlist for December, adding a decorated tree, or hiring a musician to play a few hours of tunes, ensure your store feels like the holidays, which will entice shoppers to stay a while and indulge. Encourage your staff to look the part, too, by dressing in holiday colours or donning festive hats or pins.