By Claire Reilly

Christmas is a golden time of the year for retail sales. But as any retailer knows, the busiest time of the year also requires a bit of preparation. Before customers start shopping in December, it’s worth doing the ground work now to ensure you’re ready for the sales rush.

One thing that needs to be considered well in advance of the Christmas rush is stock.

“We would recommend to our retail partners to ensure that they stock up on product lines that traditionally peak in summer and are being advertised to avoid stock shortages,” said Breville marketing manager Richard Babekuhl. “At this busy time of year, shoppers are looking for gift ideas that they can take home today and gift wrap.

“The other important thing to remember at Christmas is that often the shopper is not the end user. To help shoppers avoid disappointment from their loved ones (and product returns to you), take the time to give them a quick demonstration.

“Consumers really appreciate the opportunity to test drive appliances. Take products out of their boxes and let consumers experience them personally — this is something they can’t experience online.”

Retailers can also get a head start by making sure their staff are not only trained up on all the products available in store,Sunbeam product manager for kettles, toasters, juicers and garment care, Katie Berra, explained.

“Encourage all staff to use the products and get to know them. A customer can relate to staff talking from personal experience and it is invaluable for their own product knowledge," she said.

It is also worthwhile considering point-of-sale (POS) before Christmas customers start flooding into your store. According to Berra, well-placed POS materials can work wonders.

“Use the point-of-sale that is supplied with products and sent to stores to your advantage — have it clearly displayed so the consumer can see the key selling points of each product,” she said. “Encouraging QR code use in store can also bring a product to life through links to demo videos.”

Finally, when those last frantic weeks roll around, it’s worth thinking about store layout and how products will be positioned on the shop floor to capture full attention.

“The key to success during the very busy and often cluttered Christmas period is to ensure products that have high gift appeal and provide great value for money are front and centre,” said SodaStream Australia marketing director Laura Wilson.

“Strong point of sale, space in high traffic locations and call outs of features and benefits make all the difference. Consumers are keen to ‘get in and get out’, so the easier we make it for them to navigate through the retail space, find what they are looking for, then feel great about the purchase they’ve made, the better.”

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