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Planning For Another Year of Holidays, Covid and Adapting

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

If there’s one certainty in retail, it’s that you can’t be certain about anything. And that’s never been truer as our world continues to navigate the pandemic.

What you have no control over: the ongoing shift in laws (restrictions, masks, etc.), manufacturing delays and people’s perception of the health crisis.

What you DO have control over: The Sweet Spot. Spend time aligning your business for the holidays.

planning for the expected. nd, more importantly, give you peace of mind and a certainty that you can do it.

Branding: safety and comfort

In my very first blog post, I explain that your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can consistently expect from your products and services.

How do you want your customers to experience your business during the holidays? What do you want your customers to know about your precautions so that they are at ease? How will their visit look, compared to past holidays?

Marketing: your consistent message

How do you craft your message to convey that your store is a safe and welcoming environment? That you are open for business? That this is the year to be creating and giving one-of-a-kind gifts?

Idea: create a tagline for the holidays reinforcing your promise to your customers. Include it in all of your marketing messages. People do business with people they know, like and trust. When your customer sees one of your posts or reads your email promoting the holidays, classes and gifts, you want it to be an easy decision for them to do business with you.

See sample below: display your commitment to social distancing when customers are in your store. Click for free social distancing artwork for your website, emails, social media and store signage.

Merchandising: creating interest without full shelves

Planning for the fourth quarter means ordering inventory - a lot of inventory - and creating a visual wonderland for your customers. Shelves fully stocked, new inventory creating a buzz, events and classes booking up and your loyal fans in the creating mood!

Remember those days?!

We’ll be back there, but not this year.

Ordering inventory and supplies: remember, you’re not the only one going through this. Your suppliers are, too! Be patient, communicate regularly and be prepared for last-minute changes. Place orders soon.

Getting creative with merchandising: empty or sparsely-stocked shelves are BAD. Very bad. Get into your backroom and pull out samples, print favorite photos (customers creating, products and events) and frame them, create vignettes - all in the name of following your merchandising style, but with a little less inventory.

Are you offering to-go kits or classes online? That is a display you can create (in more than one place!) to capture add-on sales. Be sure your point of sale has signage and sample of a to-go kit.

Signage: properly designed, a sign placed with a display is simple, hits on one or two main points and converts into a sale. It can turn a hesitant buyer into I want to do that.

My two favorite types of merchandising signage

1 - Signs that ask a question. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes: what are your customers thinking when they see a sample of an upcoming class on display? To you, it’s a design that you can recreate quickly and relatively effortlessly. To a first-time visitor it may look incredibly difficult, especially if there are new products or techniques used. Did you know that you will create this design in a two-hour class? Join Mark on Thursday as he breaks down the design step-by-step.

For these holidays, always have your customers safety, comfort and well being in mind, not to mention your store's cleanliness. Do you take reservations, sell to-go kits, have online sales, and stream online classes? Did you know that you can create at home? Did you know that we offer to-go kits? Did you know that your safety is our top priority? How often do we clean the studio?

Asking a question is also a great way to promote a new product, class or technique. Have you tried ___ yet? What would you create with our new ___? Who does this new ___ make you think of? What is your favorite ____ from our new collection?

2 - Signs that include your staff. Whether it’s a product recommendation, a quick tip or an upcoming class they’re teaching, getting the staff - and their helpful information! - in front of your customers reinforces your commitment to making the customer experience amazing. From Josie: I love these new metallic paints! They dry quickly and leave a shimmer that is so pleasing - especially when the sun hits them!

Whatever comes our way over the next few months, stay positive and move forward. In time, this too shall pass.

Be consistent and stay aligned on your journey to The Sweet Spot. Here's to an amazing, albeit unique, holiday selling season <3

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