Quick Tips to Light Up Holiday Sales

We know you are busy so let’s get to it.  Here are our favorite Quick Tips for the Holiday season that you can put to work right away:

1.) Shine on Customer Service: Now is the time to sharpen your strong customer service skills with your staff. But first, evaluate how you are doing. Is your staff talking with each customer that walks through your door? What questions are you asking? Maybe you should consider a new approach with your customers. Engaging with your customers goes way beyond the typical standard questions. It involves greeting them, welcoming them, and inviting them to browse.

2.) Merry Little Holiday Shopping Services: What shopping services do you offer in your store? Free gift wrapping, easy returns, or even gift registry? Why not offer a layaway program? Many big box retailers are continuing to offer this service so why not you too? Show your customers a stress-free shopping experience with a holiday layaway program.

3.) Pin It to Sell It: Do you have a Pinterest page?  This particular platform is great for stores to really showcase your products.  Pin your “Top Holiday Picks of the Season” or give ideas on accessorizing for the Holiday parties.  Pinterest is a fun, interactive way to engage your customers this holiday season. Need more information on Pinterest? Visithttp://www.pinterest.com/

4.) Displays that Dazzle: Merchandising your products in creative, fun and interesting ways is more important now than at any other time of the year.  Visual merchandising is the “silent” salesperson that will instantly attract and excite your customers to buy. Choose a theme, pick a spot in your store, and get good lightning and display away.  When creating your displays remember to move and change things up every week or every other week.  This will keep customers coming back and feeling like they are seeing something new. Need some inspiration? Check our our Atlanta Showroom Album on our Facebook Page: CLICK HERE

5.) Grow your Email List: With the busy holidays right away the corner, you are probably going to see some heavy traffic in your store.  Take advantage of that traffic and have a “Sign Up for our Email List” at the checkout counter to gain email addresses for your email marketing campaigns.  But don’t stop there!  Tell them why they need to sign up and encourage your staff to talk it up.  In addition, you may also want to do a drawing for a Gift Certificate to help entice signups.

A Holiday Open House with STYLE!

Orignial copy dated 10/11/2011 – Edited October 18, 2013 

It is never too early to get a jump on the holidays!  You want to get out ahead of the competition and start spreading good will and good cheer!  So, put on your Santa’s helper hat and let’s get started! Start early – the first open house of the year always has the potential to get the average buyer thinking ahead and making their holiday shopping list! A GREAT impression at your event can bring the gift shopper back a few times between now and December 25th.

 

BEST PRACTICES from the experts- Offer a special or promotion, to get the foot traffic in the door. Market your event heavily- GET THE WORD OUT! And last thing, Offer a rain date alternative- the whole world is BUSY and weekends are taken.  HAVE FUN and ENJOY THE PARTY!

Make your party FUN!!!

  • Go all out – from the minute you walk in the door to the last impression at your cash wrap, let’s make it FESTIVE and filled with holiday good cheer!
  • Jingle bells on your front door can greet the guests
  • Don’t forget a wreath or stocking or holiday greeting on your door
  • You can set the scene with red Santa hats on all employees
  • Take pictures of your customers enjoying the festivities and post on your store’s website, Facebook page, newsletter and in the store for everyone to see.
  • Decorate around the theme – Hang paper snowflakes from the ceiling, or silver bells or glittery stars.
  • Pre-wrap gifts and use to decorate your store anywhere you want your guests to think – this would make a great gift!
  • Have Santa or Mrs. Claus greet all who enter!

Music:  The music should reflect your theme. Here are some traditional suggestions:

  • The Drifters “White Christmas”
  • Bing Crosby – “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
  • Frank Sinatra – “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
  • Brenda Lee “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”
  • Peggy Lee – “Winter Winterland”
  • Eartha Kitt – “Santa Baby”
  • Vince Guaraldi Trio – Charlie Brown Theme Song
  • Boston Pops – “Sleigh Ride”

Drinks & Appetizers

  • Holiday cookies and decorated cupcakes
  • Peppermint bark candy
  • Holiday Frosted brownies
  • Your favorite cheese ball recipe
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Fresh veggies and dip
  • Festive non-alcoholic punch
  • Mulled Cider
  • Hot cocoa
  • Spice tea
  • Hint- Use the serving pieces, paper table ware and tools you sell when serving your guests.  PLUS…be sure to sample some of your food items that you sell in your store as well.

Give Away ideas

  • Candy canes to all who enter
  • Small cello wrapped party favors tied with festive ribbon – the favor could be filled with small hard candy and treats
  • Miniature stockings filled with Hershey kisses wrapped in red and green foil.
  • A tiny sprig of evergreen tied with a ribbon.

Prize Drawings

  • A giant stocking filled with treats and give-away’s.  Don’t forget to ask all your reps for extras!
  • A trip to a local spa or salon (coordinate with a local spa, in return for free advertizing)
  • A giant potted poinsettia donated by a local florist – in return for some free publicity
  • Gift cards to your store for their next stop in – ALWAYS promote a repeat visit!

Promotions

  • Promote gifts for every person on your list – students, teachers, and all the women in your life. Group together products by interest, personal taste, and budget.
  • Pull displays together by price point and by theme – this is the time to promote all things luxurious. The best bath products, the softest robe, or fluffiest powder puff, the fine leather wallet or journal.
  • Offer free gift wrap AND delivery with a minimum purchase.
  • Don’t forget the buyer with the long list to buy for – several teachers, nieces, ladies group, large family. Reward this buyer with ‘Buy More, Save More’ deals.
  • Give a discount on multiple buys and complementary items- Buy two regular priced items, receive a third free (equal or less value)
  • Buy two, get one free accomplishes two goals- You move product and your customers benefit from the great buys.

 

Something extra special

  • Invite a local choral group to carol throughout your store during your event or to make a special appearance just outside, when you expect to be busiest. You could offer a donation to the group’s favorite charity in exchange for the caroling.
  • Pay local college students (or make a donation to their local club, sorority) to serve as waiters for your big day.
  • Live entertainment of any kind is always special- an acoustic guitar and singer.
  • Consider the lovely music of a harp or violin. Can you recruit someone from a local college?
  • Have Santa on hand for the children (and the big kids). Have a photographer on hand to capture the fun.
  • Have food tastings and demonstrations during your event. Sell the food or treats, or the prep tools and serving pieces used.  This is the time of year we entertain the most. Everyone is looking for fast and fabulous! Send everyone home with the recipe!
  • Offer valet parking, with the tips going toward a local cause or charity.
  • Ride your guests to and from their cars in a golf cart, if your town approves. Decorate the cart accordingly.

Marketing- in your e-blasts, flyers, or paper invitations

  • Create event flyers and insert them into every customer’s bag at purchase for two weeks minimum before the event.
  • Send an e-mail blast to your customer base inviting them to the event with a special offer for them and a friend (Great word of mouth advertising and you could double your traffic.)
  • Ask them to print the eblast and bring to the event or mention the invitation to be eligible for a special discount, treat, gift, etc.  This allows you to track the effectiveness of your emarketing.
  • Post your event on Community Bulletin Board and your local hot spots
    • Local Coffee Shops
    • Local Restaurants
    • Local food markets
    • Kid’s gyms & karate schools- anywhere the lady of the house is sure to see your advertisement.
  • Invite the local media to your event
  • Phone your BEST customers a week before the event and extend a personal invitation to these special buyers.

Partner up with a charity

  • Any women’s or children’s charity
  • Local food shelter- give a discount or gift to anyone that brings non-perishable food to donate at the event.
  • Adopt a family for the holiday season
  • Connect with anything local that may be a focus in your community.
  • HINT: Tying your event to a charity can give you great PR. Inform your local TV channels, newspapers, radio stations and invite them to your event.

Set your event apart

  • Don’t forget the everyday gift giving needs that we all must buy for- birthdays, births, showers, and weddings. These occasions are ‘recession proof’. Be ready with your ‘silent sales person’ – the beautiful displays you put together.
  • If your store gift wraps, be sure you are ready with gift appropriate wrapping paper for all the possibilities.  Think about offering free gift wrap on event day.  Or free with a minimum purchase.

ENJOY THE SEASON!!!  This is simply the BEST TIME OF THE YEAR!!

Red Hot Display Ideas

Book Lovers Unite
Here’s one clever display idea that has a happy ending.  In Beaucoup Designs, they featured their new Adjustable necklaces using a variety of old hardcover books both on the end unit and shelf.  Each necklace is draped along opened pages giving a timeless, antiqued look.
Woodsy Wonder
Mud Pie constructed an earthy display featuring their new children’s collection. They incorporated evergreen trees as their backdrop with moss covering the platforms.  This particular woodsy theme would be great to feature not only apparel, but your outdoor products or household items as well.  TIP:This is an easy transition into the holiday season when using the moss and evergreens.  Decorate your trees with ornaments and cover the platforms in “snow”.
Ceilings with Delight
With the beautiful selection of C.R. Gibson holiday greeting cards, these are not meant to remain in their boxes. Try this fantastic idea to showcase your greetings cards by hanging cards from your ceiling with decorative colored ribbon that gives a striking look and don’t’ forget to stagger the lengths of ribbon.
Towels that Talk
Mud Pie has a new collection of creative towels this season that just screams to be opened up and read! Create a wall display of towels by opening up each one and mounting them directly to the wall to create a strong focal point. Be sure and hang some on the wall or display some product near a side table for a quick purchase.
Take a Seat
Here is one of our favorite displays out of the Atlanta showroom this month.  Beaucoup Designs got crafty with three chairs.  They directly moved each one to the corner of the wall and incorporated frames jewelry cases to show off individual pieces. Your eyes are instantly drawn from top to bottom making for one eye-catching display.

New Product Introductions for Fall 2013

Summer is truly sizzling with must-see new products for Fall and Winter2013.  Here, our vendors share with us a glimpse into their new product introductions and the hot trends we will be seeing this season.
Beaucoup Designs
Beaucoup Designs is an inspired collection of jewelry and components reminiscent of days gone by.  This collection allows each person to customize their individual look.  Craftsmanship, quality, and affordability come together in this unique jewelry offering, allowing these pieces to become personalized gifts or adornments for any occasion.  New for Fall 2013 include Charm Holder Adjustable Necklaces and the Charm Bracelets where every link opens to slide charms on that requires no jumpring tool.  Additionally, we are introducing new C’est La Vie Bracelets, Aimez Charms, spacers and new character charms.
C.R. Gibson
We are delighted to share with you Susan Winget’s latest photo and stationery collection, Poppies. While recently traveling in Italy, she was inspired by the gorgeous field of these flowers and has translated her vision into beautiful artwork that adorns C.R. Gibson’s new product collection. Also new are our pet inspired products. Two collections, one heartfelt and the other whimsical, allows pet lovers to celebrate their love for their pets. Lastly, our new children’s product, Animal Felt Mask and Wooden Story Blocks, set the stage for pretend play and imagination!
Legacy
Collegiate Home– Legacy introduced Collegiate Home products barely six months ago, but by all accounts we’ve hit a home run with this one! Don’t miss the new Collegiate Picture Frames, Vintage Canvas Wall Art decorated with official College Vault Logos and school marks.
Collegiate Jewelry and Accessories– “Girl, where’d you get that bracelet” my gal pal said to me when she first saw the new Legacy Stacking Bangle Bracelets made just for your favorite schools! Legacy Collegiate Jewelry and Accessories in your store this fall is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
Faith Collection– Let Your Light Shine! Legacy introduces an inspired line of jewelry, home décor and tees; trend right, fashion forward, always something new! Live Your Legacy!
Mud Pie
Mud Pie has added over 550 fabulous new items this season to their award-winning collection of unique, affordable gifts.  Adorable baby keepsakes and apparel;  trend-right fashion and accessories; and exclusive pieces for home and living –Mud Pie stands out in store with special details, finishes and packaging.
Mud Pie Baby –Now, with expanded sizing up to 5T, brother, sister and baby will look picture-perfect for fall and holiday celebrations. Look for festive styles for dress up, playtime and visits with Santa. Searching for gifts that give back?  Mud Pie’s irresistible baby socks, in over 100 styles, help babies start life on the right foot.  Mud Pie is proud to support the March of Dimes with a dime donation for each pair of socks sold.  Complimentary fixtures and colorful collateral are available.
Mud Pie Living offers unique items that are perfect for the holidays and every day.  The Chalk It Up Collection features blackboard finishes on everything from chic serving pieces and picture frames to hilarious mugs and wine glasses. Hand-carved woods, metals, calf hair and horn details lend a rustic touch to Mud Pie’s Lodge collection and oyster shells look equally at home for coastal and city dwellings.  Visit Mud Pie for whimsical holiday décor, pet and holiday themed guest towels and gifts for everyone on the list.
New textures and silhouettes define Mud Pie Fashion for Fall with a novel collection of tunics and dresses paired with the perfect accessories to warm up for cold weather.  This season look for bold, graphic patterns and prints, equestrian details, and sparkle that feels luxuriously feminine.  Tech and travel accessories, handbags, jewelry, Mud Pie’s signature totes and a 15 piece game day group round out the season –all at WOW price points.
Natural Life
The ultimate boho essentials, from free-spirited clothes and accessories to mood-lifting home goods and gifts. Filled with happy brights, clever print mixes and cute details, our latest collection includes all the pieces we can’t wait to wear, use and give.
Our new Natural Life apparel line: Cheerily hued, effortless clothes and accessories that radiate playful charm. We’re excited about our new Tunic in a Bag, which we dreamed up on an inspiration trip to Thailand. (Pull one out of a jam-packed suitcase and it’ll still look great.) We were so taken by the floaty, crocheted vests we spotted in a street stall in Hong Kong that we created one of our own: It’s our favorite new boho cover-up. And we defy anyone to find a t-shirt, tank or sweater that our brilliantly colored Infinity Scarves won’t dress up!
The perfect gift for someone special (including yourself). Our latest Natural Life collection includes fun-loving critter designs and positive givable sayings. Sweet treasure boxes that mingle art and function. Vegan leather metallic wallets – guaranteed to make you smile whenever you fish one out of your bag. Super-soft indie print headbands (extra cute with our comfy lounge pants). Chic, upbeat handbags inspired by vintage cargo-truck tarps. Mattress ticking pillows, because we can’t resist using one of our favorite fabrics as a design canvas. Outdoor wine glasses painted in exuberant, trippy-looking blooms. Expressive charms to wear solo or in creative multiples. Plus, vibrant street market art that encourages you to do the things that make you happy—whatever that might be!
Olivina
Here at Olivina Napa Valley we have worked hard to capture the irresistible scents of the fall and holiday season by offering our beautiful and sophisticated collections, Cypress & Fir and Sandalwood & Amber, both complimented with packaging that shines with festive sparkle.
We know how hard it is to keep our skin and lips smooth and hydrated during the harsh winter months ahead. So, just in time for winter chapped hands and lips, we have five new Holiday 2Lip fragrances and our famous Hand Crème in the much-requested, one-ounce size. Enriched with Shea butter and olive oil our super effective formulas absorb quickly with no greasy residue. They are also super fun stocking-stuffers.
Everyone needs our two new tripled-milled soap collections featuring Oatmeal and Sea Salts. Both help combat dry winter skin with gentle, natural exfoliation and balancing fragrances.
Patience Brewster
Patience Brewster offers a unique line of handmade, hand painted ornaments and gifts for holiday and every day decor.  Patience has built a tremendous reputation for her intricate details and fanciful designs, and we believe the limited availability of Patience Brewster products adds to the joy for your shoppers or collectors to find them in your store.  New this summer is a sale offering access to both items in our current line as well as some limited quantities on retired Patience Brewster designs.
Santa Barbara Design Studio
We’ve got two big, new statements this summer… One is Woolbuddy, a new line of wooly creatures inspired by the world of hand-crafting, specifically felting. The other is That’s All which is all about “telling like it is” with a clean and simple graphic presentation. While visually opposite — one soft and cuddly, the other modern and straight-to-the-point — both are exciting new additions to our diverse portfolio of gift products! In addition, we continue to grow our popular lines like Curly Girl Design with her new on-trend “chalk art” look making a debut in her fabulous new collection of ceramics for the kitchen.

3 Tips to Gain More Exposure and Sell More Using Facebook

Using Facebook has never been more effective with all their enhancements over the years. You can do so much more than just post a status update, tag a local page or create a Facebook event page. And, with about 17 percent of all time spent online via a personal computer in the U.S. is on Facebook*, it’s hard to deny marketing your store and products there. Here’s three ways to ensure more sells by promoting your store and products using Facebook.
1. A picture is worth a thousand words. As you may know, Facebook uses an algorithm known as EdgeRank that display the most relevant stories in each of your fan’s Newsfeed based off of things like how often the user interacts with your page, what kind of post it is you’re publishing, , how long it took for someone to interact with it, if it became popular, etc. It’s proven that posts that include a photo or a video will gain the highest amount of exposure and interactions (likes/comments/shares).
With that being said, I suggest having 90% of all your Facebook posts to be photos because they get the highest engagement on Facebook. Including a photo will not only increase engagement and the number of people who see the photo, but it can better display the products you’re selling.
Two tools to turn a product picture into a fancy, professional picture (and maybe even an advertisement), especially if you’re not a graphic designer, are PicMonkey.com and Pinstamatic.com. With PicMonkey options seem endless on what you can do to your photos. You can add a photo filter (like Instagram), add text on top of the image, add a border, crop and resize and give it a theme (great for holidays). Try using PicMonkey to create a photo collage of top accessory items that would make a great gift this Valentine ’s Day using the Sweethearts theme.
Pinstamatic has a lot of great and easy features too. By selecting the picture icon, you can upload a product picture; add a top and/or bottom caption and then use that for Facebook, Pinterest, an email or even an ad featured in your store.
2. Extend your reach. You might have noticed that only a percentage of your Facebook Likes see your posts each day. Since Facebook’s algorithm EdgeRank decides who sees what in their Newsfeed, on average about 12-16% of Likes see posts and only about an average of 2% interact with them. To ensure more people see your posts, especially ones about new product arrivals or sales, trying using the Promoted Post platform.
Before you can start promoting posts on your Facebook page, you must first have 400 Likes. If you already have over 400 Likes, promoting is easy. You’ll find the “Promote” button at the bottom right of your Timeline when you’re adding a new post. You can only promote a post that is three days old or less. I suggest posting a status update, and after 24 hours promote that exact same post to extend the reach and exposure.
Also be sure to include the price, and for an even better conversion rate (people who buy) include a special offer or discount. You could also give away an accessory item with a purchase of $50 or more. For an even higher engagement rate, ask people to Like/Comment/Share.
The cost to promote a post will depend on how many Likes you have and how many people you want to reach. For a page that has about 500 Likes it will cost about $5-$10. For one with around 5,000 Likes targeting only your current Likes, it will cost anywhere from $5-$30. You can also promote to people who like your page and all of their friends, but since you’re reaching more people, this will cost you more money (anywhere from $50-$500+).
Your promoted post will display as “Sponsored” in user’s Newsfeed and will remain sponsored for three days or until you stop it. You can easy stop promoting by going to the post, click on where it says “Promoted for $X”, click the Settings icon and then clic“Stop Promotion”.  Finally, to see how many people your post reached click on the number of people and you’ll be able to see who saw it organically, virally or through the paid promotion. Chances are majority will be from paid and viral (viral only if you target Likes and their friends.)
Let’s make a deal. Another way to create some viral exposure for a special deal, coupon or free merchandise is through the Facebook Offers platform. You may have seen other businesses do this, where a “coupon” is displayed in your Newsfeed that you can “Get Offer”. After you claim the offer, you’ll get a Facebook message of the offer, and the offer will automatically display on your personal profile, which gives even more exposure to that deal and creates a viral marketing effect. Using an Offer to gain exposure to items such as accessories is a great way to almost create an impulse buy on Facebook.
Setting up an offer is extremely easy to do and can be found from the same place where you add an update to your page’s Timeline. It looks like a yellow ticket and says Offer, Event +.  First you must choose if it can be redeemed in store only, in store and online or online only (for all the eCommerce stores).
You’ll want to include a strong headline, an eye catching photo and set the number of claims by clicking Unlimited and selecting a number from the dropdown. You’ll need a budget for the Offer because you will be promoting it (just like Promoting a Post mentioned above). Note: the more people you reach the more you’ll spend. To learn more about what an offer is, how it can go viral, setting up an offer or managing your offer, check out this page and video by Facebook found here.
_________________________________________________________________________________________
Crystal Vilkaitis has been using social media to marketing businesses since 2007 producing results like tripling web sales, increased blog traffic by over 2700% and received coverage in Entrepreneur Magazine and USAToday. Crystal was featured in Fast Company’s 2010 Most Influential Person Online campaign, ranking in the top 2% and took third place out of over 1,400 nominations for the Top 10 Small Business Facebook Pages of 2011 by Social Media Examiner. She is currently the owner of Crystal Media, a company dedicated to helping retailers integrate proven social media and mobile marketing strategies into their businesses to increase exposure and growth. For more information visit crystalmedia.co.
*Source: InsideFacebook, Nielsen Report