Holiday Shopping Trends 2012

Shopping trends for the holiday!
Retailers as you know the Holiday season is quickly approaching. It is likely that some of our favorite items are already being sold out and consumers have a grasp on how they want to take on this holiday season. We should already know that online shopping is a hit, and that Cyber Monday took the lead in sales last year up against Black Friday.  Here are some other key trends to watch for:
  • Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are the top traffic leaders when suggesting and marketing a product. At least 85% of shoppers went straight from one of these social media sites directly to the Seller. “That is FREE marketing”, if you ask me! Utilizing Snap Retail to help connect you with your customer base is a great way to increase up to 70% of sales for this upcoming holiday season.
  • Consumers are expecting in store promotions, free shipping, and an easy transaction, such as mobile checkout.
  • The question is why should a consumer have to wait for such great deals? Start thepromotions now! Try a deal of the week and feature a new item every week, showcasing why this would be a great holiday gift or item.
  • Create a monthly holiday mixer, where customers can come out to mingle and shop.
  • Make gift cards available to customers. This will allow the people receiving the gift to shop for themselves at your store, which in turn can gain a new client.

The bottom line is you should understand your customer’s wants and needs and where they stand. Being armed with that knowledge will help you deliver a personalized message that is sure to make this shopping season merry and profitable.

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About Reese Smith 
Imagine where individuality is celebrated, where fashion is written with a loose casual fare, where convention is revamped to reveal its more eclectic yet classic alter ego. This moment introduces Reese Smith. Reese Smith is a California native who resides in Atlanta Ga. She got her first taste of fashion at the very young age of six, where she began to sew on a cabbage patch sewing machine. She later became the fashionista she is today. She graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelors is Fashion Design and Merchandising, then went on to pursue and complete her MBA from Kaplan University. She celebrates her love for writing and fashion through blogs, magazine articles and a host of other creative outlets. She has created and owned a collection of apparel and accessories, and currently teaches fashion design and merchandising at a local college in Atlanta Ga. She is an advocate supporter of breast cancer, being a member of the Denise Roberts Breast Cancer Foundation over the last decade. Her goal in life is to live freely, be happy, learn from the best and keep fashion at her forefront.

Mud Pie Merchandising Minute: So Thankful

SO THANKFUL!

Download Sign

What better time to recognize and acknowledge how important your customers are to your business than at the beginning of the holiday season. Do so in a “tasteful” and appreciative way.

Set aside a small area next to or within any of your Fall or Thanksgiving displays and fill it with small treats. Simple nibbles that your in-store guests can grab and munch on as they browse. Nothing calls attention to a table more than snacks!  Use product from your display to serve from – dip bowls, small plates, boxes, ceramic or metal vessels. Be creative.

Choose fall-colored foil wrapped candies, or easy pick-up, easy clean-up, easy refillable food items:  bunches of grapes, crackers and cheese slices, dried fruit, shiny chocolates or mixed nuts. If you sell consumable items in your store – this is the perfect place to sample those and to have them nearby for purchase. Keep it small – nothing elaborate!  Making a few treats a stylish part of your display, will be an unexpected surprise for your guests and will help them to imagine some of the products you’ve featured in actual use.

Then compose and print out a simple sentiment or personal note from you – the shop owner — and place it inside a beautiful frame (hopefully one that you sell!) amidst your spread. Or use a small chalkboard with a handwritten message.  Your customers will take notice.  It’s the season of thanks and the perfect gesture to stir up some sales while sending Happy Thanksgiving wishes to all.

LIGHTEN UP

Nothing fancies up the place like a little artificial greenery and a few strands of white Christmas tree lights. Want to take it over the top? Wind some wired ribbon around both and you’ve got a festive and professional look ready to inspire and welcome the next customer to the holiday season ahead! No wall or room to create a merry swag? Use greens and lights across your display table as a “runner” of sorts. And if you don’t have the luxury of electricity nearby, almost all little lights are available in a battery powered versions. Stuff a small set of mini lights inside a few empty wine bottles to add a small glow and festive pizazz to any fall or holiday appropriate table. They are the perfect complement to showcasing all entertaining ware: bottle bags, glasses, bottle toppers and openers, linen towels, coasters or cheese boards. Just remember to turn your bottles off at night and turn them back on again when the store opens.

Holiday Hues: 5 Color Schemes to Make Your Store Stand Out

The holiday season is coming up fast and that means it is time to start thinking about your store displays. Color can have a major impact on how your customer’s react to your store. It is important to choose a color pallet that best reflects the appropriate customer reactions. Below are some color schemes to help spark some inspiration:

All is Bright:

Vibrant shades of bubble gum pink, cherry red and plum accented with metallic silver creates a unique and feminine color scheme that is sure to turn heads.

Red is known to stimulate excitement in shoppers. Use it minimally to draw attention to specific items in your store. When paired with pink and purple it can create a sense of imagination and creativity that will inspire your customers.

Traditional Tidings:

Forest green and kelly green adorned with deep crimson with hints of metallic gold stir up warm memories of holiday tradition. You can never go wrong with this classic.

Green can be used to promote the feeling of stability and can also be calming. When coupled with a deeper shade of red it can create a sense of comfort, warmth and peace. Since this combination is a classic it can also spark comforting memories of holiday traditions.

 

Dashing all the Way:

Fresh hues of avocado and pale green with steel blue accents combined with hints of matte silver create a modern twist for a winter wonderland.

This color pallet of brighter, more saturated shades of green can create the feeling of whimsy. When paired with blue it is a friendly and welcoming combination to make your customers feel both inspired and comfortable. The silver acts as a neutral to help balance out the brighter shades.

Coastal Chic:

Muted shades of umber, sand, smoky blue and taupe gray create a calming motif that is inspired by winter at the sea.

Sooth your customers with subdued shades of blue that can stimulate calm feelings. While brown is also known to be calming, it also can have a very elegant appeal. When paired together this color scheme can be very comforting and promote relaxation during a stressful holiday season.


Merry & Bright:

Lively shades of peacock blue, sky blue, cardinal red and metallic silver pair together to create a trendy and current color scheme. This mismatched combination complements each other in a quirky and stylish fashion that can make your store stand out in the crowd.

The use of red in its purest form to create a bold accent that can lead your customer’s eye to your store. Paired with the different shades of blue it is a cheerful choice that blends the perfect amount of warm and cool tones. Use this modern combination to promote liveliness and joy.

Making the Most of the Holiday Season

Mercy Hospital Gift Shop of Springfield, Missouri has been owned by Mercy Auxiliary since 1958. There have been relocations made over the years as the hospital expanded and the latest renovation in 2008 resulted in the current expanded space. This created the need for a gift shop manager to buy for the shop and manage the volunteers, a position Kym Priest feels blessed to hold. Since the gift shop is auxiliary, all proceeds go back to the hospital. With the combination of yearly fundraisers and proceeds from the gift shop, over $5.6 million dollars has been given back to the hospital since 1958.

As in most hospital gift shops, Mercy Gift Shop offers flowers, candies, balloons and all other staple items.  But customers will also discover so much more than that. “We try to really listen to our customers on what they like or request” says Kym. Beyond the clothing, jewelry, accessories, scarves and collectibles that make up the majority of the products featured, collegiate products has been a surprising success.  “Collegiate is proving to be a growing category. Not only do we sell Missouri schools, but we also have products from Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma.”

Collectibles remain an important category for Mercy Gift Shop, but according to Kym, is trending down slightly than in previous years.  “I am noticing that our customers are selecting more practical gifts to give versus collectible items” says Kym. “For us, 2012 has been fairly strong.  Our customers want is to give a gift that has more bang for their buck.”

Walking in the doors of Mercy Gift Shop, customers may find more than they anticipated.  “We hear that customers are surprised by the type of gifts we sell and that they didn’t expect to see all these products in a hospital gift shop” says Kym.  For Kym, she loves hearing that and is consistently looking for new and exciting products to bring into her shop every season.  “Because many of our customers are employees, we see them on a regular basis.  So, I try to keep our merchandise and displays looking fresh and new.”

The volunteers at Mercy Gift Shop hold a very important role.  “Our volunteers are very patient and personify the essence of what it means to volunteer” says Kym.  The volunteers are caring and enjoy interacting with the customers.  According to Kym, there is a big difference between having a paid staff and volunteers.  “They are choosing to spend their time in the gift shop and that’s an important distinction.”

Around this time of year, Kym actively works on setting up the gift shop for Halloween.  “I enjoy putting together really fun displays for Halloween.”  Kym works on incorporating festive decorations, accessories and home décor items along with life size figures.  “We seem to get a lot of attention from our displays and its sparking people’s moods about the fall season” says Kym. Mercy Gift Shop gets their fall and autumn items out as quickly as possible to really increase their chance to sell through it fast.  “After Halloween, we have Christmas out but try to keep a small display for Thanksgiving, because we think it’s important to highlight the holiday.”
The first weekend of November brings a sale event to preview the holiday at Mercy Gift Shop.  “This is the time we bring all our holiday merchandise out and set up our displays in a big way” says Kym. From ornaments and decorations to gifts and tabletop, Kym and her staff create vignettes through the shop and compass a number of artificial trees varying in sizes.  The trees work to showcase their holiday ornaments and other gift items.
Displays are vital to the sales at Mercy Gift Shop.  “We are always re-working our displays and glass cabinets almost every two to three weeks” says Kym.  To complete the tasks for merchandising her store, Kym and even her volunteers all contribute.  “We occasionally have students from our local college come in and help with our displays as well.”  But for Kym, it’s not always the big major display changes that happen, but it includes the little moves or restocking that is important as well.  “The displays are very important to us for they help sell our products without having to always educate our volunteers on the new product.” Visual merchandising is the silent sales person at Mercy Gift Shop.
Marketing for Mercy Gift shop consists of many aspects.  “We utilize the internal hospital announcements to help get the word out about upcoming events, new products or promotions” says Kym.  In addition, Kym sends out an email using SnapRetail to her database of customers at least once a month.  “For our Facebook page, we mostly use this tool to share pictures of displays or new products that have come in.  We’ve received calls from customers who have patients in our hospital looking to purchase a gift they saw on our Facebook page.”  For Kym, Facebook is not their main marketing tool, but it’s still an important component that adds to the overall message.
For Mercy Gift Shop, Kym enjoys trying new things all the time. “Just don’t be afraid to try something new.  It’s a learning experience that can truly be a valuable tool.  You may learn to never do it again or you may learn what to change for next time” says Kym.  For whenever Kym finds herself stuck on a problem and can’t quite find the answer, she makes her way around her store and can even be found working on her displays.  For sometimes, being out among her products and displays has helped to release her creative thoughts and foster new ideas.