Christmas in July
There’s a local restaurant in the little town I call home that does a big Christmas in July celebration over a weekend. There’s a Santa that visits, the restaurant is all-out decorated, the menu features holiday classic foods, including a fruitcake dessert, and Christmas music floods the space. It’s a sell-out every single year and just brings a smile to everyone’s face, even when it’s 100 degrees plus outside. I hope it happens again this year if possible because we honestly could all use a little more fa-la-la.
Yep, we are solidly in July now, and believe it or not, you should be thinking about your holiday plans. The only thing you can be absolutely certain of this year is that things will be different, so some creativity is in order. For many of our clients, this means there will likely be a Plan A and a Plan B since having a holiday party doesn’t look like it’s likely going to be in the cards. And, frankly, a backup plan is always a good idea when the next word we may end up getting really tired of in the near future is resurgence.
Speaking of plans, let’s face it, it’s probably been a challenge this year to do anything you initially had on your schedule. If you’re a retailer with a lot of co-op advertisting, you’ve probably had to scale back on some of your planned advertising. You may be having issues getting product into your store – this malady, on top of seeing fewer people stepping through your doors and knowing that trunk shows aren’t happening. In spite of these bumps in the road, many manufacturers are stepping up and trying to help retailers as best as they can by investing in digital resources to aid in online shopping.
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that you must move forward, especially when there is still so much uncertainty about what tomorrow may bring. You can’t wait forever in that state I call “analysis paralysis”, waiting for some sign of normalcy. Those days are gone.
Here are a few things you can do between July and October to get yourself ready for the holidays:
• Meet with your staff and discuss how important clienteling will be this holiday season. They will STILL be celebrated and the opportunity for sales may actually be better than in years past. Not everyone likes to talk on the phone, but there’s never been a better time to forge relationships with your customers and learn their likes and dislikes than now. Brainstorm things you can do to bring more personalized experiences to your customers, especially if there’s yet another shutdown. Get creative with what you can do with curbside delivery or pickup with a holiday and Christmas theme.
• Just because you may not have a party this year doesn’t mean you shouldn’t decorate your store come the holidays. When people walk in, they will appreciate the fact that you put an effort into making their spirits feel a little lighter and brighter. An upbeat playlist of holiday music can be created by your entire team – a little something for everyone and every generation.
• This needs to be the year to get acquainted with the underutilized wishlist feature on your website, whether you sell online now, will be by Christmas, or will offer delivery or curbside pick-up. You should also work on the communication plan to your customers about this functionality on your site and test it out well in advance. For example, you could send out an anniversary gift themed email that points out that your website has a wishlist component. Within your email, you can indicate that wishlists can be created, saved, and shared with a significant other, and then actively make that part of your creative a call to action. You could do another one closer to the holidays. “Christmas is coming. Do you have your wishlist made out yet…?” You get the picture.
• Regardless of whether or not you move forward with a traditional holiday party, a holiday sales trigger should still be sent to your customers. This could be an e-catalog with a gift card component, a traditional gift card mailing, anything that says come in and shop, or go online and shop with us.
In conclusion, start talking and thinking about the holidays now, even if it has to be a bit of a broad brushstroke at first. Put your Plan A and B together and have a deadline in mind for your decisions. Because the holidays will be here before you can say the word mistletoe.
Do you want to have a holiday season to remember in a good way? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org