The winter holidays are a peak time for shoppers and retailers alike. While this fact doesn’t change from year to year, it doesn’t make the season any less exciting. In fact, the holiday season gives retailers countless opportunities to create a pleasant shopping experience as customers browse for gifts and prep for family get-togethers.
Holiday merchandising is all about creating a sense of nostalgia and generosity. People love the holidays because they get to gather with friends and loved ones, give and receive gifts, and enjoy the foods, smells, and songs of childhood. It’s a time for sharing, relaxing, and cozying up with your favorite people. With that in mind, the best holiday merchandising tips help customers get into this spirit. From wintry retail display ideas to customer service advice, here are our sweetest tips for holiday merchandising!
Retail Tips for Holiday Merchandising
1. Use holiday decor to appeal to the senses.
Appealing to the senses is a year-round retail best practice. But it’s extra fun when the winter holidays come around! The smells, sights, and sounds of winter make for a super cozy shopping experience customers will love, no matter what or who they’re shopping for.
Some obvious ideas include decor related to the winter season and its holidays:
- Christmas trees adorned with ornaments
- Festive nutcrackers
- Menorahs and dreidels
- Winter wreaths
- String lights
- Decorative snowflakes
- Snowmen, reindeer, polar bears, or penguins
Get creative and adapt these retail display ideas to your store’s audience and aesthetic. Department stores, home goods stores, and consignment stores can find success with classic displays that give shoppers a sense of visiting Grandma over the winter holiday.
For a more minimalist design, opt for lighting in winter colors, such as warm reds and greens or cool blues and whites. Create simple displays designed around winter activities such as gift wrapping, dinner parties, or lounging at the ski resort.
Don’t forget the sense of “scents”! Use essential oil diffusers or sprays in holiday fragrances like fir and pine, cinnamon and nutmeg, pumpkin and vanilla, orange and apple… the list goes on. Use fragrances moderately to avoid bothering shoppers with sensitivities to fragrances.
2. Anticipate shoppers’ needs.
As retailers know all too well, the holidays are a stressful time. Shoppers are buying gifts and preparing for family gatherings, and everything is on a tight schedule! An out-of-stock product or long lines suddenly have much higher stakes than usual. One of the best holiday tips for retailers is to use displays, store layouts, and customer service practices to anticipate shoppers’ needs.
Here are a couple of surefire ways to accomplish this:
- Create displays around giftable items. If you have customer data or buyer personas to consult, use them here! Think of gifts for mom, dad, spouses and romantic partners, kids, coworkers and more, and create retail displays around these personas. Place them in areas that make sense around your store – e.g., gifts for kids near the toy section, or gifts for Mom near Home, Bath, or Beauty.
- Cross-merchandise products according to winter/holiday activities. Think of the most common activities people engage in during the winter months: gift-wrapping, baking, dinner parties, winter sports, movie nights, etc. Then, group complementary products in retail displays that help shoppers grab everything they need in one spot!
- Offer free gift wrapping. We all know what most customers are shopping for during the winter. If you have the staff and resources, make their lives easier by offering to wrap gifts for free.
3. Offer special holiday deals.
What better way to ease customers’ stress and encourage purchases than by offering special holiday deals? From discounts to loyalty programs, this is the time to show your appreciation by lightening up the burden on your customers’ wallets. It’s also a way to spread generosity during the season of giving.
4. Prioritize customer service.
Cozy, nostalgic retail display ideas aren’t the only way to create a relaxing holiday shopping experience for your customers. Another important strategy is to supercharge your customer service during the winter months. This understandably puts pressure on your employees, but with the right management moves, you can have everyone feeling prepared.
Think about hosting a special winter training session focusing on problem-solving and “soft skills” such as listening and empathy. At the same time, make sure employees are educated on inventory, deals and discounts, important dates, and any other information customers might need to make big holiday shopping decisions.
5. Don’t forget about your employees!
As you can see, focusing on customer service puts a lot on the shoulders of employees. After all, they’ll be fielding customer questions and frustrations from opening til closing, and even the most seasoned retail workers are still human. It’s just as important, therefore, to focus as much on your staff’s wellbeing as your customers’ needs.
During those holiday trainings, help employees not to take things personally. Provide clear protocols to address customer issues and educate employees in de-escalation tactics. Above all, take this opportunity to spread the holiday cheer and genuinely bond with your employees. Throw a holiday party, increase or expand employee discounts, and stock the breakroom with special holiday treats. Candy Club’s winter selection is sure to have something to satisfy your staff!
6. Stock up on special treats.
Don’t let your employees hoard the holiday goodies – stock your shelves with them, too! Candy Club’s holiday selection has every kind of candy favorite, from chocolates to sours to gummies and more, all in your customers’ favorite holiday flavors. Become a Candy Club retailer today and you can treat your customers to winter goodies they won’t find anywhere else!