With the cost of living crisis, energy hikes, supply shortages and ongoing price rises impacting businesses, shoppers and pretty much everyone, this post is all about trying to make the most out of the festive period and spread some shopping joy. In the run up to Christmas, particularly for furniture retailers, consumers will want their homes tip top for the festivities. This could mean investing in new dining room or living room furniture, or even perhaps the spare bedroom – the airbed has surely gone pop by now, right?
To form some sort of context of potential furniture spend during December, in 2021, furniture and lighting retail sales reached £1.3bn, rising from £1.2bn the previous month. In fact, December last year was the fourth highest month in terms of sales in this category, according to ONS data. Roll back another year to 2020, sales reached £1.5bn, up from £1.2bn in November, and was actually the highest ranked month in the year. Going back further to 2019, sales again represented £1.5bn, up from £1.2bn against the previous month, and also sat on top spot for highest monthly retail sales in the furniture category. Checking another year, in 2018 sales were at £1.5bn once more, and, you guessed it, ranked the highest month overall.
This, of course, doesn’t mean sales will reach these heights this year, but it does outline a positive trend that the festive period can see an uplift in demand and sales. Factoring in the aforementioned challenges, implementing a marketing strategy can help make the most of the Christmas countdown. And by doing so, December could just prove to be another bumper month for the furniture trade. So, what’s the best way to spread Christmas cheer?
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” Ok, this is a quote from one of my favourite Christmas movies – have you guessed it? Yes, it’s Elf. And no, I’m not expecting you to be singing at the entrance of your store to get customers in (although that could be fun), I’m just trying to get you in the festive mood. Here’s five thoughts on marketing ideas over the Christmas run-in.
If you’re not dressing to impress, who’s going to notice? Make sure to get the decorations in full bloom, get staff to help bring Christmas instore. This is a great way of standing out, drawing attention and giving customers a real festive feeling when shopping. With the place dec’d out, why not hold a Christmas event where you can showcase your best products with demos and special discounts. Offer some Christmas goodies like mince pies and mulled wine on hand to add a festive, welcoming feel to your shop. Christmas music is always a plus – may even bring out the Elf in you.
Christmas is a time to think about others less fortunate than ourselves and spreading goodwill. Retailers could consider teaming up with a charity and offering some support in terms of donations, perhaps a percentage of sale during the festive period will go towards a chosen charity? At this point, I’d like to highlight one retailer, Linthorpe Beds, with their Christmas plans. They are proactive at helping their community and this year they are running their ‘Donate a Tin, Don’t Bin’ Campaign, which encourages shoppers to donate unopened tins, cans, packets and cartons to help those in need of food. They will then donate all foods to local food banks and charities for them to distribute among their users. Food for thought right?
With being a furniture retailer, shoppers are not exactly looking in your store for a Christmas gift or something that can go on the tree! However, while instore, why not invest in some Christmas related stock as add-on purchases. This could be anything from candy canes to baubles. There could even be an opportunity to partner with a local craftsperson to fill this spot. Either way, adding a Christmas product touch could generate a few extra sales.
Promotions and presents
As mentioned earlier, special Christmas discounts are always going to be a winner. You could offer percentage-based discounts for the festive period, or perhaps turn it into a game. I’ve seen some examples where a Christmas tree has been decorated with 100 cards. Inside has its own discount or prize. Give it a ‘pay to play’ fee, something small to keep it fun, with a percentage of proceeds raised going to your local charity of choice. As for the customers, inside the cards they could find a variety of discounts on offer and other prizes like vouchers for other local businesses or free cinema tickets. Perhaps Elf will be showing on the big screen?
Finally, if you’re feeling really festive, why not host a Christmas party at your store. For one morning, afternoon, evening or night (or the whole day), throw a Christmas celebration with music, a Santa visit, food and drinks, offering customers a really special reason to attend. This of course is helped with a discount in some form, but it could be as simple as for every purchase over a certain amount, the customer is entered into a raffle for the chance to win something big or an experience. Why not make it fancy dress too, for the best dressed also wins a prize. I think you know what I’d be appearing as, obviously mysELF.
Merry Christmas everyone and here’s to successful festive period and fruitful New Year.