We’re now well on the way to Christmas, and even the most reluctant retailers can no longer hide behind the shop fittings claiming it’s still too early to prepare. In fact, we’ve had all year to prepare our retail displays, make sure the clothes rails are fully stocked with winter gear, and maybe stick a Santa hat on a cheap mannequin – but is all this enough?
In fact, we learned a lot at the end of last year about what consumers expect from retailers, what was delivered in time and what didn’t go so well. So, although the chaos is already underway with the full force of the Christmas rush rapidly approaching, here’s what caused the biggest issues last year to help us avoid a similar fate in 2015.
• Growth in non-food sales online was disappointing compared to the previous year in December, which has been widely attributed to Black Friday obliterating many retail displays and online stocks earlier than usual. With sales over with by the end of November, many smaller retailers couldn’t afford to restock in time for Christmas, while many consumers had already completed the majority of their shopping.
• Almost a third of UK consumers reported some kind of problem with online ordering, including everything from late deliveries to disappearing orders. This was a significant increase from only one in five the year before, so only time will tell if improvements have been made behind the scenes to avoid similar scenes this December.
• Many retailers experienced a shift back towards physical stores and away from online ordering, especially for particular specialists, such as bookshops. Online growth is still going strong, but in 2014 it definitely slowed and this reminds us that physical retail outlets and visual merchandising are still vitally important! The mentality of online sales being at war with physical retailers is looking a little outdated, and brands that embrace and plan for both are set to do well long term.
So how can you make the most of this major trend and make sure your shop can benefit from the best of both worlds? Here are a few key ideas:
• Adding a “click and collect” function – even smaller retailers with e-commerce websites can implement this, and it’s great to give customers an alternative to home delivery
• Pop-up shops for online-only retailers – great for quick promotions and maybe even more
• Use your shop as a showroom to show off your products in the best possible light – quite literally!
• Make your shop experience for customers, giving them everything they need in one place including great service, knowledgeable staff, and even online ordering in-store
• Invest in e-commerce – if you’re an online retailer, you need your website to be suitable for mobile users (like our own Valentino’s Displays website!) in order to maximise your sales
If all this advice isn’t quite enough to get your retail business ready for the last minute Christmas rush, you’ve still got time to invest in your shop with new display products from Valentino’s. We’re currently offering some of our best ever prices on everything from heavy-duty clothes rails, racks and hangers to shelves, lockers, cabinets and showcases, plus mannequins, storage, signage and everything else you could need to make yours in-store promotions visually stunning. Place an order today and get creative with kitting out your business!