Oct. 2-7 EVENTS Plan a holiday event for early November. Not only do you avoid clashes with your customers’ work parties and family gatherings, but an early date allows you to test what’s popular in the market, says Ann Foley-Collins of Glee Gifts in Mansfield, MA (PICTURED, ABOVE), who has her store fully merchandised by Nov. 1 and then holds two fundraisers for local charities. “I see the bestsellers at these events as early indicators of what will be popular for the holidays and place my reorders right away.”

Ann

Oct. 2-7

EVENTS Plan a holiday event for early November. Not only do you avoid clashes with your customers’ work parties and family gatherings, but an early date allows you to test what’s popular in the market, says Ann Foley-Collins of Glee Gifts in Mansfield, MA (PICTURED, ABOVE), who has her store fully merchandised by Nov. 1 and then holds two fundraisers for local charities. “I see the bestsellers at these events as early indicators of what will be popular for the holidays and place my reorders right away.”

MARKETING Start planning your holiday email blasts now. Offer helpful gift ideas and feature exclusive deals to make your clients feel special. Top five days and times to send emails: end of October, Thanksgiving evening, Black Friday mid-morning, Cyber Monday afternoon, and one week before Christmas.

MARKETING Everyone sends Christmas cards. This year, send a Halloween card instead, because it’s an uncommon practice and the gesture really stands out.

FINANCING Layaway programs made a big comeback during the Great Recession as consumers sought more budget-friendly ways to pay for holiday gifts. Explore what it would take to roll out such a scheme in your market (laws differ by state).

Oct. 9-14

SECURITY Do you sell goods online? Then you need a trust badge/SSL certification. Not having one is a deal-breaker for 17 percent of shoppers. 

INVENTORY Need to quickly move inventory to make space for holiday bestsellers? Consider a store event with a “Dutch auction”: The price starts high and then descends, and the piece goes to the first bidder.

STAFF Encourage staff communication ahead of the holidays with “lunch roulette.” Participants select a date when they are free for lunch, then they pull a name from a hat to discover their lunch partner.

Oct. 16-21

FAMILY Are you a custom jeweler? Start working on your wife’s or husband’s Christmas present. Getting it out of the way now will save you from panic later.

SOCIAL MEDIA Haven’t got the time or manpower to manage a full social-media campaign? Try offering a simple “deal of the day” (or week) to get people excited about special, time-limited offers. 

INVENTORY Create a merchandise checklist and add these dates to your e-calendar: special order cut-offs, special manufacturing cut-offs, delivery dates, dates your suppliers are closed.

Oct. 23-28

DISPLAY Experiment with placing some lower-value jewelry on top of your cases to encourage try-ons.

SALES FLOOR Look into getting a scent diffuser installed. Just about any nice smell will keep customers lingering longer, but pine, cinnamon  and mulled cider will reinforce the spirit of Christmas gift giving.

STORE How are your entrance mats looking? If it’s been a while since you changed them, splash out on some new ones — they will save your carpets by keeping out salt and dirt.


This article originally appeared in the October 2017 edition of INSTORE.