How do you grow sales the week after Christmas?

Discussion
Photo: RetailWire
Dec 28, 2020
Bob Phibbs

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail Doctor’s blog. 

After-Christmas retail can be fun — even with a pandemic — as long as you stay focused on making money and minimizing returns instead of just giving profits away through aggressive promotions and discounts.

Here are seven ways to grow your retail sales the week after Christmas:

  1. Greet at the door. Greet with a sales pitch — e.g., “Good morning. The whole store is 20 percent off” — to interrupt them before they get to the counter wanting their money back. The goal is for them to “Look around.”
  2. Greet at the counter. Even if someone greeted the customer at the door and 20-percent signs are everywhere, greet them again and mention the sale at the counter. Even if customers tell you they only want another size, look at this as an opportunity to get your customer spending on a second item.
  3. Immediately tag all returns. You don’t want to lose a sale because someone threw the item into a big pile to “get to” at the end of the day. Price it and get it back on the floor.
  4. No part-timers at the counter. Make sure everyone knows how to do all types of returns, sale items, closeouts, layaways, checks, etc. Neither your employees nor customers want to wait for a manager.
  5. Bend your return policies. Give them a refund if there is any way possible. The goal is to build in-store sales, not antagonize customers.
  6. Hustle. Now is not the time to let someone lazily size a rack, hang merchandise or do a return if you want a sales increase. Now is the time to actively get onto the floor and minimize those returns.
  7. Get their information. Get them on your email list or check-in with Facebook. Remember, discount shoppers are usually not your regulars, so explain how they can sign up for exclusive sales throughout the year.

The final week of the month is frosting on the cake. By proactively deciding to grow sales, you will have a better mindset, keep your crew from feeling overwhelmed and keep the online retailers at bay.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What tips do you have for minimizing the impact of returns and maximizing sales in the week after Christmas? Which suggestions cited in the article strike you as being most beneficial?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"The product returns experience is one that will need to be continuously improved and focused on."
"Never open with the phrase: “Would you like your money back?” Be ready to offer smart exchanges."
"Anything you can do to create frictionless returns is a win for the customer, the associate and the retailer."

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10 Comments on "How do you grow sales the week after Christmas?"


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David Naumann
BrainTrust

The suggestions from “7 Ways How to Grow Your Retail Sales The Week After Christmas” are great ideas for minimizing the impact of returns after the holidays. The key focus areas are making the returns process as quick and easy as possible for customers and offering incentives for customers to buy something else while they are in the store. A frustrating return experience can turn a loyal customer into a former customer and a satisfying return experience will enhance loyalty. Enticing customers to return items in the store instead of shipping them to the retailer is the best bet to save the sale by encouraging customers to make another purchase while they are in the store.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

I went out to visit stores this past weekend and I saw all of the seven points above being executed well. In turn, I saw more customers than I thought I would see and all were being taken care of properly (while still following social distancing and mask requirements).

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

I’ll join in here with Bob. The rule is to train associates on how to handle returns prior to customer interaction. Never open with the phrase: “Would you like your money back?” Be ready to offer smart exchanges. Merchandise the store with your very best talent to make the product look attractive enough to be exchange bait. Closing note: I walked into a store yesterday that had a “cash returns only” register. Yes the lines there were long, and my bet is they ran out of cash before 2 p.m. THINK.

Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

LOL Rich. Boggles the mind how Store Ops leaders trying to be efficient can nonetheless be at odds with their own performance metrics – growing sales.

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

Reverse logistics, aka returns, has been one of the most friction-filled experiences for customers. However it’s encouraging to see how retail store operations and e-commerce businesses have taken steps to provide more frictionless customer experiences. Studies have shown that customers who have had bad returns experiences tend to navigate to other brands and retailers.

With the COVID-19 fueled digital commerce acceleration, we should only expect the proportion of product returns to increase. However as Bob indicated, a good returns experience along with offering discounts, promotions, and an overall feeling of good will, goes a long way to gain customer loyalty.

We have seen retailers adjust their operating models to enable cross-channel returns at their physical stores and other methods to remove the friction. The product returns experience is one that will need to be continuously improved and focused on.

Perry Kramer
BrainTrust

The seven recommended items above are absolutely key and foundational to success in turning a return experience into a sale, (in the same visit or through continued loyalty in future visits). Additionally I would add a couple of points; Making the consumer feel safe and valued during the return and when considering their next purchase needs to be top of mind for the foreseeable future. Another area that needs to be top of mind is resetting their inventory levels. The good and bad news for most retailers is that most stores appear to be well below their typical inventory levels going into the last few weeks of the holiday season. The good news is that there will be minimal markdowns. The bad news is that consumers not finding goods in the stores becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as the consumers move to a brand or more expensive channel that is in stock.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Don’t automatically assume that every customer wants a refund. Instead, have associates ask the customer if they’d like them to hold the item at the checkout while they look around for something else. Sometimes customers come in to make an exchange but when offered cash they go for it. Asking this simple question provides the associate the opportunity to try and save the sale. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

Anything you can do to create frictionless returns is a win for the customer, the associate and the retailer. In recent studies we have done in brick and mortar retail the number one customer pain point is returns. This is where you win brand enthusiasts or create social enemies so it is critical to get this right. Most people buy something else when they enter your store so smile, make it pain free, and even offer some small incentive. You just may create a loyal customer.

Larry Negrich
BrainTrust

To add to Georganne’s point, suggest the amount back on a gift card, sounds better than a store credit — keep that customer in your store looking for a gift.

Andrey Podgornov
Guest
3 months 16 days ago

All the tips are relevant for sure. But the hidden thing here is how to ensure that all of them are enabled and executed in everyday experience? Employee training and checking — that’s the answer to my mind. And that task is quite exhausting. But technologies simplify that and for instance, we can use tasks with checklists for education and use regular inspections to check whether all the points are enabled and executed or not. Mobile technologies drive such processes for in-store staff. More interesting here is that sometimes all the tips are in place but executed the wrong way and that brings reverse effect. That’s why it is so important to be compliant and follow instructions in the right way.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"The product returns experience is one that will need to be continuously improved and focused on."
"Never open with the phrase: “Would you like your money back?” Be ready to offer smart exchanges."
"Anything you can do to create frictionless returns is a win for the customer, the associate and the retailer."

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