This week has been all about Christmas pop-ups at Retailbiz HQ. There’s the temporary Lolly Bar from Allen’s, which is serving up two of my favourite (and sadly discontinued) treats, green frogs and spearmint leaves, until 25 December.

Then there are the new pop-up delivery hubs from Toll, which aim to make sending parcels quicker and cheaper for consumers. Located in Westfield shopping centres, shoppers can buy something for Christmas in the centre, have it wrapped in-store and then drop it off for Toll to post. The company is considering extending this into other busy periods like Easter, so we’ll have to see if it takes off.

Lastly, there’s this story from the Courier Mail about a Queensland pure-play online retailer that has opened a pop-up boutique to capitalise on Christmas traffic. Owner Sarah Timmerman told the Mail the store “allows us to be present for impulse shopping and we’re well positioned for the 36 hours of trade (before Christmas) that should deliver excellent results.”

Here are a few other things I’ve been interested in this week:

I’m talking to… Jodie Stewart, the co-founder of wholefoods supermarket chain About Life. She began the business with her sister Tammie in 1996 and 20 years later their ‘feel good’ brand is stronger than ever. Jodie had some great insights to share about pricing, creating a cohesive feel across About Life’s eight stores and her business philosophy. You can read all about it here.

I also had a chat with John Winning, CEO of the Winning Group, who was named the 2016 Retail Executive of the Year. This is the third time John has received the award, and this year he was recognised for his focus on exceptional service.

I’m dreaming…of a New York Christmas thanks to this collection of festive windows from New York Magazine. The Big Apple does Christmas in a big way, from the enchanted forest theme at Lord and Taylor (complete with huge LED screens) to sparkling chandeliers at Bloomingdale’s.

If you’re looking for inspiration closer to home, check out the festive merchandising tips we got from Jacki Sinnett, owner of gift and homewares store Nest & Burrow. They’re based in the Southern Highlands of NSW and have become known for their displays.

I’m thinking about…Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. According to POS software provider Vend, high street retailers saw a minimal boost to spending in-store, with the data showing a seven per cent increase in sales on last year.

Vaughan Rowsell, Vend founder, said rather than Black Friday being the day for big in-store deals and Cyber Monday the day for online, retailers have used Black Friday to drive sales across both channels.

“Single days dedicated to discounts have been cast aside as retail competition heats up,” he said. “For Black Friday this year many retailers ran online deals alongside their store-wide sales and across multiple days. For example, Myer had what they called a ‘Super Cyber Sale’ which began on Thursday and continued throughout the weekend.

“Black Friday is still one of the biggest retail events of the year for sales and spending, so it’s only natural that Aussie retailers look at alternative ways to capture that cash. Bringing together brick-and-mortar and online is hugely valuable for retailers, as consumers demand options in how and where they shop, at any time of the year.”


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