Monday, November 1, 2010

How Retailers Can Increase Christmas Sales in 3 Days

There are many ways to increase your retail sales over the long term. A fancy new fitout, implementing a customer loyalty plan or designing a new product strategy.

But Christmas is less than 8 weeks away and there's no time. Meanwhile, there are plenty of hungry competitors looking to attract the same customers as you in the next few weeks in the race for the Christmas dollar.

So what can you do today to make sure those lovely Christmas dollars end up in your till?

The answer is to become a magnet for the 85% of women who shop with their children in tow and become a child friendly retailer.

Christmas is around the corner. These women not only want to spend, they need to spend and they need to do it efficiently and soon. Yet our research shows that 91% of them end up spending nothing because they are unable to make a purchase due to distractions from their children.

Not only that, but 93% of them said they would prefer to visit a store that provided a safe play product to occupy children. Guess where those customers are shopping? In stores that make it easier for them, providing a child friendly retail experience that minimizes distractions and maximizes their ability to spend.

So what are you doing to attract these customers into your store? If the answer is "nothing" then let me tell you how you can implement a fast strategy this week to get these women through your door and spending in your store.

Day 1 - The Play Solution

Firstly, you need to install a safe play solution somewhere in your store. It doesn't have to be large, expensive or take up too much valuable floor space. Wall mounted play panels that can be affixed to a column or in a change room are a great idea, as are smaller play maze tables that can be stored in a corner and pulled out when needed.

Forget about bringing in a few old toys from home or the local two dollar shop. They are generally not made for commercial use, are unsafe, unhygienic and a liability waiting to happen.

The most important considerations are safety and durability so go for a commercial quality play solution that has been approved by Australian Standards, such as those found at Child Friendly Solutions.

Day 2 - Train Your Staff

Many retail staffers have no idea how to approach a shopper with children in tow, perhaps because they have very little experience with children or because they think they won’t get a sale from those customers. Unfortunately this means parents can sometimes feel ignored or unwelcome.

When retail staff flip their thinking and look at these customers with new eyes, a whole new sales channel will open up.

Spend half an hour today teaching your staff these few easy tips for handling customers with children.

a. Greeting
A friendly greeting to both parent and child goes a long way towards creating a favourable first impression with the parent and doesn’t take much effort.

When you or your staff greet a child, get down to their level and say hi with a big smile, without getting too close. Children respond to a smile but shy away or get upset if you get “in their face”.

b. Use the play solution as a sales tool
Having a safe play solution in-store gives your sales team the opportunity to open a dialogue with the customer whilst simultaneously offering a greatly appreciated customer service. A good introduction might be:

“Hello, how are you. I just want to let you know we have a play panel over here which the children may like to play with while you browse.”

This is a great example of how to turn a browser into a buyer. Without the play solution, that opportunity wouldn’t exist.

A play solution keeps the parent in the store and we all know the longer a customer stays in the store, the more likely they are to make a purchase.

c. Change room antics
If the parent is trying something on, ensure the child is in the change room with him or her. Whilst it is not advisable to offer to look after the child whilst mum or dad is changing, let the parent know that you’ll cover the exits, just in case there’s an escape attempt! It’ll give them peace of mind just knowing you’re keeping an eye out.

Day 3 - Spread The Word

Now that you have a child friendly strategy in place, you need to let your customers know all about it. Here are several ways of doing that:

a. Do you have an email database of customers that you correspond with? Here’s a great reason to get in touch with them. Let all your customers know your store is now child friendly and what they can expect. Trust me, when a parent knows they will be able to shop in your store knowing their child is going to be occupied by something (anything!), they will flock to your door.

b. Put up a sign in the window telling passers-by that the store is 'child friendly'.

c. Include the 'child friendly' message in your advertising. None of your competitors will be promoting that angle, but parents will listen and respond positively to the message.

d. Contact your local paper and see if they'll run a story on the benefits of shopping at a 'child friendly retailer'. Most local papers are starving for content and welcome submissions, especially if they're daily. You can include the benefits to parents and even include a couple of quotes from satisfied customers. Feel free to use the statistics I've listed above from our research. You can find the report here.

e. Are you utilising social media? Twitter, Facebook and Blogging are all great ways of communicating with your customers so don't forget to spread the word via all that newfangled technology. You can even upload a short video of some kids playing in your store - set it to music with a couple of happy mums looking on and some crazy staff dance moves and you never know, it could go viral! Here are some great resources:
So there you have it. Only 3 days to increased sales with minimum expense and time input. The edge you gain might just transform your retail revenues from good to great this Christmas! 

Please drop by and let me know how you go. I'd love to hear what you implemented and how successful it was.

Child Friendly Solutions has been assisting Australian retailers with in-store play solutions for 10 years including Big W, K-Mart, Westpac, Toyota and Forty Winks. You can find Child Friendly Solutions Play Panels, Play Tables and other play equipment, as well as lots of information on becoming a child friendly retailer, at

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