Plan NOW for Holiday Season Success!

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I know, it's October... but I'm going there.
Are there boxes of Christmas merchandise stacked and waiting for floor space?
Most of you are saying yes right about now.

Relax - you've done the easy part. But you're not done yet!

Because the hard part is that you need to have a plan ready
for how, where, when, and why those boxes of product will make it to the sales floor.
And you need that plan NOW, my friends.
Before you pull an all-nighter to set it up. Before you leave a list of 'to do's' with the staff.
Before you have the invites for your big holiday decor unveiling event printed.
(You ARE having a big unveiling event, aren't you?) Before your ads hit the media.

Retailers count on the holiday season for a large percentage of their annual income,
and it makes sense to plan for it. 
But far too many businesses just roll the stuff out on carts and start stuffing it into displays. 

Don't sabotage yourselves! 
With a bit of planning, you can reap all of the benefits of a successful Holiday season.

continue reading for my top tips for planning your holiday displays...

First, determine where the main focal locations are in your store.
Front and center, windows and immediate adjacencies, 
and both behind and beside the cash wrap (register counter)
are always a good place to start, generally speaking. 

Stand in your store entrance and see where your eye naturally lands as you enter, 
just as your customers do. 
Then look behind your front and center display area - a bit farther back into your store. 
There's one great spot to focus attention. And then back a bit farther, there is another
If you focus on these areas, you will create a corridor of display areas 
that will focus attention on your holiday merchandise  
and act as a device to draw your customers into the depths of your store.
(I mention this because in my line of work, 
I see far too many retailers that pack the entire front of their stores with Holiday merchandise.... and it sells, yes. 
But they miss the opportunity to get customers into the other areas of their stores - 
those areas that hold the basic, day-to-day product lines, 
the bread & butter lines, that people use all year long. 
The ones you want them to come back to your store for after the Holidays are over. 
Build in a reason for them to remember you and return...)

Next, look at what you've purchased for the season
and determine what works together to create UNIQUE themes or styles. 
Will you have a white wintery look, a warm woodsy look, and a bright colorful look? 
Will you have country, shabby chic, French flea market, and modern vintage styles? 

Once you've determined that, 
look around your store and see what you already have that fits in those categories. 
Adding everyday merchandise to your new Holiday offerings expands the impact, 
plus it helps you make room on your sales floor to FIT all that new stuff! 
You don't have to pack up the old stuff - just rearrange it in new groupings & settings.

Now, take those Holiday products and create fabulous displays with them!

Retail Holiday Displays,Holiday,retail display,retail tips,retail visual merchandising,Christmas Trees,display ideas,display tips,independent merchants,seasonal display,visual merchandising,
For example, take that winter white theme I mentioned: 
Add big branches sprayed with snow, and bring in a selection of old sleds to use as risers for the white ceramic snowman figures, dishes, and ornaments.
Take a theme and run with it - add large-scale props like these to make it really engaging.

In the case of the photo above, we grabbed some statuary and plant pots
along with bird cages and bird houses from the garden section of this retail nursery
and incorporated those into a wholly unique wintery holiday scene. 

A simple way to keep your displays looking fresh and new throughout the season? Create a 'set' that will help you feature many types of merchandise
To show off themed papers, stationery, partyware, and ornaments, 
creating a 'dining room' with a long harvest table, a few chairs, and a sideboard - 
in your window, or in the center of your store.

These 'fixtures' will hold a ton of product and present it successfully every season:
*In early fall, use harvest baskets to present the items 
and an old ladder hung horizontally overhead to hang more baskets from.
*For Halloween, switch it out to black and white and orange, 
and hang a few black chandeliers or tissue paper lanterns overhead. 
*For Thanksgiving, group items on large platters and in soup tureens - 
yes, even cards and gift bags and napkins! 
This creative presentation will make your customers smile
and notice those everyday items in a new way.
*For Christmas, bring in the everyday dishes, mixing bowls, cookie cutters and aprons -
make it look like an old fashioned cookie baking party!
Then add in the holiday papers and cards that coordinate with that look
 to take it over the top. 
Add in some vanilla, birthday cake, and cupcake scented candles for a real sensory effect!

These are really simple, easy ways to be effective with your visual merchandising. 
Planning each display area's 'set' and use throughout the season 
will help you maximize your time, your effort, and your profits. 

And your customers will be clamoring to see just what you come up with next...

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