How to be in retail heaven this Christmas

As an independent retailer how can you compete against the chain stores and Internet this season?

The cliché often thrown around is that independents can offer better service, which is easy enough to say, but it is equally important that retailers understand how to turn that ‘better’ service offering into extra sales. A great way is to pull products together that you have already purchased and price them as a package. A premium price, that is, not a discount!

You might, for example, have a nice range of photo frames that retail at £9.99, they sell well and you think your stock holding is about right for the balance of the season. The only way to drive more sales from this item is to link-sell, or up-sell the item. So why not pre-wrap one of them, pop it in a gift bag and have it merchandised next to the display item, saving the customer time and mental energy; real service in other words.

Picture Frame – £9.99, Tissue – £1.00, Poly Satin Ribbon – £2.49, Gift Bag – £3.99, Gift Tag  -0.99p,  Package Total: £18.50

By doing this you have the opportunity to turn a £10 sale into a £18.50 sale, but if that still doesn’t excite you think about this: If your store turns over approximately £350k per year and you manage to up-sell only 20 per cent of the gift stock already in your store, you should generate an extra £5.5k in the next three weeks. That would be 1.5 per cent growth on the full year and you can achieve it without spending anything. £5.5k could be wages for a month or a good chunk of your business rates, a nice second hand car or a fantastic holiday to the Caribbean in January!

You can choose what to do with the money on Christmas Eve with a well-earned glass of wine. This is an easy way to offer an added value service, your customers and your bank manager will love.

Have fun, the next three weeks are retail heaven!

Steve Williams, Co-Founder of Vivid Wrap Ltd, Handmade Gift Wrap, Gift Bags and Gift Boxes