Winter holiday season is finally here! These coming weeks are retailers’ most exciting and profitable time of the year. From now until January, grocers can leverage their unique position to make their costumers’ holidays a magical time and, thus, solidify their relationship. Grocers with a good holiday strategy can capture the biggest slice of the holiday spending pie.
A holiday strategy should encompass all aspects of the operation of a grocery store. To best serve costumers during the holiday season, grocers must curate stock relevant to their costumers’ needs and create a retail floor where these can be best met. Breaking from routine, consumers are more rushed and adventurous than ever. A streamlined store caters to their urgency and invites exceptional (impulse) purchases. Correctly stocking the store is crucial; holiday merchandising holds the key.
Seasonal dishes, like turkey and ham, will be definite anchors to the store (don’t forget about seasonal ethnic dishes like cod and tamales). Leverage your retail floor to provide solutions for special meals, as opposed to scattered items. Some examples:
- Holiday salad isle with fig vinegar, hazelnuts and other seasonal salad items.
- A station brewing, serving and selling cider and punch (your store should smell like the holidays!)
- A turkey-dinner display with everything needed to prepare the turkey (brining containers, a turkey baster, a thermometer and carving knives) and the accompanying items (stuffing, etc).
- A pumpkin-themed desert section, with pie, cookies, ice-cream and chai.
- A one-stop shop for parties: cups, decoration, hats, balloons, etc.
Consider displaying holiday cooking guides to help with food preparation; magazines that review items and give shopping guides will also be appreciated. Keep in mind that costumers strapped for time are more likely to purchase prepared foods; plan accordingly. By providing integrated solutions to their costumer’s needs, a grocer can establish a bond of trust with the costumer.
Grocery stores traditionally have had a competitive advantage at providing most shopping categories. This study shows the planned holiday shopping, per shopper. (1)
But research shows that consumer dollars are going into gifts for family members. The following chart depicts planned holiday spending in dollars. (1)
This means that grocers are receiving the most visits by costumers that are looking to spend in items not traditionally stocked by grocers. Grocers looking to have the most successful holiday season must be proactive and go beyond just groceries.
By partaking on your costumers’ holidays beyond the dining table, you can solidify your relationship with them and increase your sales. Ninety-two percent of those looking to shop for gifts will be doing so in grocery stores; they are mainly looking for value and variety (2). Health and Beauty items are popular stocking-stuffers. Small toys (like dominoes, playing cards, tops and yo-yos) and batteries for toys are particularly effective in point-of-purchase displays. Don’t forget to stock and display gift-wrapping supplies and holiday cards!
Use proper signage and promotion to maximise the impact of your inventory and increase sales. Help streamline the flow of costumers and call attention to relevant items with seasonal signage. Completely revamping your store will make the process clumsy, but experimentation, with proper signage, will make your store more exciting. Costumers visit stores more frequently during the holidays; make sure your store is fresh by changing special displays and end-caps. The holidays are, above all, a time to experiment and exercise your creativity.
A grocery store can be a haven from the rush and an ally in the times leading up to the holidays. A good holiday strategy will not only provide costumers with what they want, but help them discover what they need to make this their best holidays yet. Be part of your costumer’s holiday story, they’ll always remember.
PS: Check out Pinterest for some cool ideas for these holidays.