- 63% of consumers intend to spend more than they did last year
- 70% of shoppers expect significant discounts before the January sales
- Small retailers fared better than bigger stores in September
We say small is beautiful. We say keeping it local is best. We say with a little bit of careful planning, independent food and drink retailers can use gifting to play the giants at their own game this Christmas. We’re not just talking about staying afloat, we’re talking about offering your customers a quality service and beautiful Christmas hampers and Christmas gift packaging that increase the perceived value of your products and put profit back in your pocket. Here are WBC’s TOP 10 profit generators for local retailers this Christmas, with links to our best-sellers, opening hours and last order dates.
It’s amazing how it feels like Christmas comes earlier each year. It seems the major retailers are spraying artificial snow all over the joint before they’ve even put the barbeque sets away. When the UK’s two largest retail establishments display their diamond encrusted Santa’s Grottos for the glitterati as early as July, it’s easy to wonder if the rest of us mere mortals are simply playing catch up.
But the figures seem to suggest otherwise. There may be a reason why the majors set up tinsel shop so early. In fact, if the data is to be believed, your local store may be faring better than you think. In a recent Guardian article, economics writer Katie Allen, highlights work released by the office of national statistics showing that despite the bright lights and heavy discounting, large stores have seen a rise of only 0.2% compared with the 2.1% that local small retailers enjoyed in September. Maybe it’s the hefty petrol price increases forcing cash-strapped consumers to head local, but the fact is, with some careful planning for Christmas, the festive season could be really good this year for small local businesses.
But what happens when your customer steps over the threshold? Have you thought about what you can offer them in the way of Christmas gifting and services?
TOP 10 ways local retailers can bag extra profits this Christmas:
1. Less is more
When choosing what gift packaging or hamper products to offer customers, you don’t have to go overboard. You can save costs by keeping your range to a well coordinated minimum. Just one standard card gift carton or deli tray can be dressed to cater for a variety of seasonal gifting opportunities. There’s no need to buy every colour, simply dress it differently with a wide range of finishing touches. You’d be surprised how many customers over stock, but this way you won’t end up with an unnecessary abundance of product lines and all your cash tied up. Remember: we hold stock so you don’t have to. Just visit our top tips for ordering and make a note of our last order dates for Christmas.
2. Clearly marked price points
Offer hampers and gifts at key price points that are in line with your customers’ budget and then highlight them using our blackboard signs. If you’re a wine retailer for example, pre-packed wine gift cases make a great gift idea because they are an established choice for local businesses, community organisations and private customers alike. You alone know your customer and what they can afford, £25, £50, £75, by selecting ready-made options they’ll thank you for taking the hard work out of the decision making process.
3. ‘Limited edition’ gifting ranges
Offering customers a ‘limited’ gift range enhances the perception of a gift being personal and exclusive. Just because customers are looking for a bargain, it doesn’t mean they won’t buy premium if you give them a reason to. For the seasoned hamper designers among you, WBC has a range of unique and contemporary hamper boxes and finishing touches and you can get elaborate as you want. Even garden centres are getting in on the act offering one-off gardening hampers and using a range of garden trugs, fruit crates and potato chitting trays – you’d be amazed what can be used to create unique profit generating hampers.
4. Online vs Offline
Once your customer crosses the threshold you may think you have a captive audience, but you still have a relatively small window of opportunity. Now is your chance to inspire and keep them there. Consider how you dress your shop this Christmas. Our retail display solutions and one-off merchandising props can add a sense of drama and help to revamp your store. However, don’t forget online services. Weather and cost is never far from your customers mind, in fact 44% of us have increased our online shopping since 2010. As customers increasingly dodge the cold and opt to shop from the safety of their sofa, if you have website capabilities, use them, they can be another clever way of watching profits soar. Remember: push your web address and social media links like facebook and twitter in-store to maximise customer loyalty and extend your following!
5. Time to make it personal
Have you ever thought about offering pre-packed hamper gifts to local businesses in your area? According to Marketing Week magazine, corporate gifting is well and truly back so it’s a market worth exploring. Personalising or branding a company logo on gift packaging gives the impression of high-end professionalism but doesn’t have to cost the earth. WBC offers a gift and hamper personalisation service with runs as small as 50 units. Branding gift boxes can take as little as 10 working days from artwork approval, and we manage the whole process from start to finish. If you are thinking of Christmas branding, be sure to take note of our last order dates for branding, it’s a popular service and we’d hate for you to be left out.
6. ’Treating in’
It’s the new word on the high-street and refers to the increasing trend for entertaining at home. According to Grahame Wright, Marketing Director at the English Provender Company, the recession has meant that more and more customers are getting together and making an effort at home, and premium brands are growing off the back of it.
So we say get in on the act! Offer hampers filled with creature comforts this Christmas, baking hamper ideas, not just puddings they’re bound to throw away but treats for all the family to share. Themed hampers like Arona Khan’s knitting hamper gift idea are a perfect ‘do it at home’ hamper for the home bod.
7. Offer a glass loan service
So the party’s on, and whether you’re a farm-shop, deli, specialist wine retailer, or corporate caterer, a glass loan or hire service is a great way to go the extra mile for customers; plus it sets you apart from competitors. With the function and events market becoming ever more popular, add-on services like this are a great way to establish goodwill and loyalty with shoppers. Today’s customers increasingly expect retailers to offer a glass loan service with their party wine orders. With our strong and long lasting wine crates or glassjacks, this kind of service is a manageable option.
8. Offer incentives based on order value
If 70% of customers this Christmas will be expecting a bargain, then give them one! You’ll be surprised how much a clearly marked sale sign displaying 10% off when you spend over £50, or a free gift tag or Christmas card with every gift basket or hamper purchased, will encourage a higher spend. Word of Warning: make sure you do you sums before you start discounting; double checking your costs to ensure your margins make sense!
9. Sending bottles of wine or Champagne as a gift through the post?
It used to be that bottles of wine sent with the courier network equaled sheer nightmare, but not anymore. With both economy and luxury options of courier approved transit packaging, sending bottles of wine and Champagne or even luxury hampers through the post, is a cinch. Clever ways of packaging have been designed to protect bottles in transit while ensuring they keep their ‘wow’ factor on arrival. Simply browse through our transit options and take your pick.
10. Display, display, display!
Last but not least, and certainly most important, customers will not buy what they cannot see. We’re always amazed by retailers who purchase a beautiful collection of Christmas bottle bags, only to keep them hidden under the counter. Get them on display. Bags for life, wine accessories, wine glasses, and bottle carriers; a customer may walk into your store for a bottle of wine, but there’s no reason they shouldn’t leave with something else too. Place a countdown on one of our retail blackboard displays, reminding shoppers how many days they have left till Christmas. Similarly an Advent calendar within view of customers will inspire impulse purchases.
So those are our Top 10 ways local retailers can increase profits this Christmas. We always have plenty of ideas, many taken from our customers’ success stories over the years. Follow us on twitter or like us on Facebook for daily top tips and special offers. We love to hear from you especially if you have a top tip you’d like to share with the gift packaging community – leave us a comment at the end!
All of us at WBC wish you the very best this season.