Countdown to Christmas
Important dates for retailers
Countdown to Christmas – important dates for retailers. It’s now less than a month to go until the main event in a retailer’s calendar – Christmas day.
The early birds may have been shopping since spring, but most of us will do the majority of our Christmas shopping over the coming 4 weeks.
For retailers in almost all sectors, the Christmas sales boost is particularly welcome this year, which has continued to be financially difficult for many.
With excitement and maybe just a touch of dread…. the time has come to blast out the Christmas tunes and get ready for the season of excessive spending!
The countdown to the Christmas calendar
Most of the planning and preparation has already been completed by retailers, and with staff, stock, promotions, and scheduling most likely already organised.
In the run-up to Christmas, it’s all down to the details to ensure you are ahead of your competitors and offering your customers the best possible service.
Although it’s now easier than ever to shop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it’s still worth planning for each of these dates of interest in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Some are traditional and some more modern, so there is something for everyone. Make the most of each of these notable days in the retailer’s calendar.
Black Friday: 26th November 2021
Black Friday has been around in the United States since the 1950s, and the tradition made its way to Ireland about 10 years ago.
Black Friday was traditionally the Friday following Thanksgiving, and it all began with the practice of workers calling in sick after Thanksgiving to recover and enjoy a long weekend!
In more recent times, Black Friday is associated with heavy sales discounts, long store opening hours, and of course a battle for the best deals.
Not every retailer wants to be involved in the chaotic bargain hunting scenes that we see every year for Black Friday, but retailers of every type should use the event for promotions, discounting, and marketing purposes.
Cyber Monday: 29th November 2021
Another US tradition, Cyber Monday occurs on the Monday following Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday focuses on technology sales and e-commerce.
Even if you don’t sell technology products, this is the perfect day to introduce your customers to your online shopping services, offering promotions and discounts to lead the way for them.
Don’t have an online shopping service? With API technology it’s possible for any retailer to add online services that work alongside their bricks and mortar shop. Find out about Retail Solution’s online shopping technology here: Web Shop
People expect significant savings on these two days, so be sure to offer discounts and promote them heavily. Make use of your social media channels, in-store promotions, flyers or leaflets, and local news outlets.
Farmers Day / Culchie Shopping Day: 08th December
This traditional shopping day is just for Ireland, and just for fun!
December 8th is the Feast of The Immaculate Conception and was traditionally the last feast day off work before their holidays. This gave people an opportunity to get all their Christmas shopping done.
Before internet shopping and bustling satellite towns, the people of rural Ireland would have to hop in their cars and head for the nearest city to buy their festive gifts. With everyone heading in at the same time, this became the busiest shopping day of the Christmas period.
Of course, this isn’t the case anymore with the dawn of internet shopping and great local shopping services now available throughout the country. However, this is still a busy and recognisable day in Ireland, meaning you can use the tradition to bring a little fun and focus to your promotional material, as many rural shoppers will have vivid memories of this busy day shopping as a child!
Super Saturday: 18th December
The last Saturday before Christmas also falls on a Saturday this year.
Of course, this is the last big shopping day before Christmas, and a great day to make a final push for in-store sales.
As this ‘last minute’ shopping period begins, people become anxious about delivery dates for online shopping, and so you should look at encouraging your potential customers to call into your physical store.
Get ready to be flexible, as you will need to check off your inventory before creating your promotions and marketing messages, in order to push only the stock you still have available.
2 days to Christmas: 23rd December
Food outlets be prepared! This is statistically your busiest day of the Christmas period; everyone wants to be sure their goods are fresh for the big day.
Stay ahead of your competitors by ensuring your customers already know what they can expect to find in your store today. Distribute plenty of marketing material in advance and issue reminders on social media.
Have your store well-stocked before opening, ensure that you are fully staffed, and check that all equipment and tills are fully operational and ready to go (your EPOS service provider can help you with all of this: find out more).
Christmas Eve: 24th December
Hang in there, you’ve nearly made it!
Today is the day for the last-minute shoppers, the forgotten gifts, and of course, the day that most men start their Christmas shopping (or so legend has it!)
This is the day to focus solely on in-store selling, no one is shopping online today.
Create feature display stands in prominent places to present your most eye-catching and fast-moving products, choose items that make great all-rounder or generic gifts. Promote and reduce any items with close expiry dates.
Everyone will be in a hurry today, so focus on speedy, impulse purchases.
Wishing all of our retailers an enjoyable and lucrative Christmas period!
Here are some marketing ideas for this busy month:
- Get your social media channels up to date and looking festive now. Let your customers know what you have in store for them this coming month
- If you have a customer email list, send them an e-leaflet of tempting Christmas offers
- If you haven’t already got your store looking festive, set up a simple festive promotions corner or a post box for a letter to Santa
- Order in gift wrap, tape, and ribbon to offer a gift-wrapping service
- Festive up your windows with some simple window paints. There are loads of templates available online e.g., Pinterest Christmas Window Templates
- Hold a Christmas art competition for kids
- Offer price matching, and an extended return or exchange period
- Promote a free shipping day for your online store – everybody loves free shipping!
- And finally, if you are still using paper pricing labels on Christmas Eve, print and add the post-Christmas prices behind your current price labels, so at closing time you can just pop off the Christmas prices and you’re good to go for St. Stephen’s Day. Alternatively, find out about our handy Electronic Shelf Label solution.
Now you can get ready for the January sales… phew!
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About the author:
Susan McGuire has been with Retail Solutions for over 6 years, and during that time has had roles within the areas of Maintenance, Finance, & Marketing. You can follow her on LinkedIn!