In a recent news item on chainstoreage.com, a new study by BDO Seidman, LLP, an accounting and consulting organization, found that 73% of chief marketing officers (CMOs) at leading U.S. retailers believe discounting and promotions will be more plentiful this holiday season compared to 2006 due to the current credit crunch.
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the CMOs said they would be more cautious in their sales and inventory purchase plans than in 2006.
In addition, more than one-quarter (26%) of the CMOs said the safety issues surrounding Chinese products has affected their planned inventory assortment and led them to focus more of their marketing efforts on U.S. made products.
More than a third (37%) of the CMOs polled said they are increasing their marketing focus on “green” products this holiday season compared to 2006.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Be careful what you buy. When all the big guys are weary of sluggish holiday sales, you, as a small retailer need to tread lightly. Make sure you have the right product mix and that you aren’t over-inventoried for the holiday time period. If “Made in the USA” or a “green” push makes sense for your store, then go for it. Customers are responding more and more to these initiatives.
Figure out how to remain competitive (or beat the big guys by using a different strategy). With the mega-promotions retail chains will unleash beginning in November, you’ll have a hard time winning on price. So don’t play the game. Let the big guys duke it out while you offer a unique product mix coupled with superior customer service to attract customers to your store.
Use alternative marketing strategies. Crank up those emails and offer your customers unique reasons to stop by and see you early and often. Analysts are forecasting that the holiday shopping period will begin even later this year than ever. And big retailers are going to try to stimulate sales with promotions that will begin early. Try a more unique approach such as events to attract customers.
Cater to shoppers when they’re shopping for “me”. November is typically a time period when people look for gifts for others, and they shop a lot to “get ideas”. But the reality is that they more often buy for themselves than others in November. So cater to them by offering events, gifts with purchase and other unique reasons to attract them.
Don’t leave the holidays to the big guys. With the right merchandise, in-store elements and marketing, you can attract potential customers away from the madness of the mall.
How are you going to attract more customers this holiday season?