Standing out from the crowd of competitors, in such a busy marketplace, ensures all (good) retailers make marketing their priority this Christmas holiday season.

But remember, at this time of the year, as with many other times (this time is just 10x more important) you aren’t selling your products – you are selling CONVENIENCE.

Knowing our ideal customer’s pain points and marketing to them is an essential ingredient for success. Knowing that one of your ideal customer’s BIGGEST pain points, in this season, is LACK OF TIME and marketing likewise, will not only increase your profits, but increase your customer loyalty and fan base.

Saving your customer’s time is your new CURRENCY when it comes to Christmas shopping.

With retail spending results just released and retail spending for September showing a disappointing result again, with nominal sales growth flat at 0.0 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms. Lagging market expectations of a 0.4 per cent increase, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), it’s more important than ever that your retail business has all its “ducks in a row”.

If consumer confidence is down, they spend less, so it’s up to each individual retailer to ensure their customers spend confidently this Christmas season.

With retailers taking over 36% of the profit, at this time of the year, no one can afford to take their foot of the marketing peddle.

There are many ways you can be selling convenience to your customers this Christmas.

Here are a few that we implemented into our small business that our customers loved us (even more) for: –

1. Shelf talkers. We professionally printed several shelf talkers, that we placed appropriately around our store, leading into Christmas.

They suggested what would be “great gifts” for her, for him, for them, for Mum, for Dad, for that “person who has everything”, and one that worked exceptionally well “Kris Kringle Gift Idea”.

Customers browsing through your shop needed to make one less decision, because the answer was looking them right in the face, in big bold writing! They knew it was a great gift idea – because the shelf talker told them so!

2. Pre-wrapped gifts. Having a few of a particular item on display and one or two at the back pre-wrapped – gives the shopper the gift of time! Not only can they touch, feel, see (and possibly smell) the product, they don’t even have to wrap it! Convenience 101.

Of course, you need to be practical about the products you choose here, breakable products or perishable products may not work well. So, choose suitable products.

(BTW – having wrapped gifts scattered around your shop adds to your Christmas theme as well – win/win!).

3. Offer FREE gift wrapping. This is a MUST. Customers will LOVE you for this service and 99% of them are willing to wait or come back to collect if you are busy with customers. This is just another touch point of convenience, but also building loyalty.

4. Offer FREE home or work delivery, where possible.

5. Merchandise parts of your store into price categories. Many customers, at this time of the year, have budgets they must stick too – family Kris Kringle’s are very popular, and have spending limits. Know your customers and merchandise accordingly. Price categories of under $10, under $20, under $50 and under $100 are often a great start. Be creative – but be strategic, these are often great opportunities for upselling and impulse purchases.

6. What can you become the expert in, this Christmas buying season? What can your store become famous for and be the “go to” store for?

Two promotions that produced amazing results for us in our store were – becoming the “go to” store for Kris Kringle gifts (we sourced products in the $5, $10 and $20 price points with great margins).

Also aligning ourselves with a local charity worked exceptionally well. We hosted our local “wishing tree” in conjunction with the local hospital. This not only was a great initiative, helping families who struggled (especially) at this of the time, but it also brought people into our store who weren’t our customers and allowed us to start a relationship with them. People didn’t need to purchase from our store, they could bring any gift they wanted, but having them come into our store, chat to us, browse, that was priceless.

7. Think ONE TO MANY – what corporate businesses would benefit from the convenience of pre-done, personalised, gift vouchers for all their staff or beautifully packaged gift packages for staff? This marketing initiative can add thousands to your bottom line – and can be as simple as a well written email to the manager.

If you can think outside the square, make shopping convenient for your customers, attract new customers and become the “go to” store for something no one else offers, then Christmas will be AWESOME, but more importantly, PROFITABLE.

Jenn Donovan knows a thing or two about the retail industry. Not only has she experienced great success in her very own small retail business – Jenn also successfully runs a company named Inspiring Retail, which educates, connects and inspires small business within the retail industry.

Whether your retail business is online or offline, new or established, Jenn’s first-hand retail experience and knowledge will help you get the competitive edge your business needs. To find out more, email jenn@inspiringretail.com.au.