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Posted Date: 01/4/2016

Yuletide Designs Drive Sales

The holiday season offers a wonderful opportunity for retailers to make a statement with stock. Well-themed and designed floor plans naturally can help drive sales all year-round, but there is a particular magic that occurs with holiday items. Don’t miss the chance to utilize all the sparkle and shine that comes on Christmas-focused inventory and make sure to pay attention to some key elements when you set out to set up for the season. Here are some best practices to keep in mind to make all your merchandising merry.

Home is Where the Heart – and Wallet – Is
Buyers are often looking for items that they can envision either in their own home or the home of a gift recipient. So make it easier for them to visualize by creating themes and putting items in settings. This is also a great way to incorporate items that might not be holiday specific.

“When it comes to Christmas décor and holiday tablescapes, we tend to stay true to the décor style we like for our homes year-round: traditional, whimsical, rustic, modern,” says Julie Smith Vincenti, home furnishings trends and product editor & owner of the Chicago-based media firm Nine Muses Media.

Smith Vincenti advises retailers to address merchandising and look for what’s universal across styles to put together a cohesive look. She uses the example of metallic finishes as being popular as part of a larger fashion story for 2016. “It’s not gold or silver, but rather both gold and silver in equal measure…on the tree, on the mantel, on the table,” she explains. “Clear glass vessels are important as well. We’ve seen a lot of terrariums and hurricanes in the marketplace during the spring and summer selling seasons. I think there’s great potential for using these vessels to create inventive or dramatic holiday arrangements and tablescapes.”

DIY to Inspire Imitation & Sales
Providing inspiration for shoppers can have a huge impact on total rings on the register.  Based in Minneapolis, Bachman’s  (www.bachmans.com) operates six retail locations and each of the stores are merchandised to reflect seasonal trends and repeatable inspirations. “The thoughtful and playful mixture of gift and home décor merchandise with beautiful blooms, green plants and garden goods provide unique design ideas,” Karen Bachman Thull, director, marketing & corporate communications, says.

In addition to providing guidance with its displays in-store, Bachman’s goes one step further to act as muse to its customers. Seven years ago, Bachman’s began its Ideas House, located on the original homestead land of Bachman’s adjacent to the retail store. The 1920’s homestead is now used to showcase seasonal products and trends and spur imitation in buyers’ own homes.

The 13-room showcase includes a living room, den, bedrooms, office, dining room, kitchen, porch and bathrooms.  The Holiday Ideas House is open seven days a week for a period from November to mid-December and guests can do a self-guided tour.

Drama Drives Biz
While giving shoppers a sense of home is important, don’t underestimate the importance of having a focal point display that is meant to catch the eye. This might not be the most “comfortable” design for people to put in their own homes, but it’s meant to draw foot traffic.

Claudia Herke, one of the designers for the Christmasworld Trends 2016/17, describes this by saying that decorations need to make a clear fashion statement that involves a style-driven flair. “This can be a thematic choice of color, or it can involve using particular patterns and materials, creating thematic scenarios, telling stories or playing with the notion of presenting things in huge numbers or oversized dimensions,” Herke advises. “In a way, the shop window or product presentation can be likened to a grand entrance.  So offer a grand tableau worthy of the stage – bold and with an eye on the effect it has at a distance.” Herke cautions that when creating these memorable sights for your shoppers, it is even more important to make sure the shop window and décor inside change regularly and are full of new ideas.

Nine Main Elements to Winning Displays

Lights – Simply adding a string of lights will add an element of magic to any display.

Color – From the fashion color dujour to the traditional red, white and green, find areas to play up bold color schemes.

Statement Piece – A large prop can be a great way to anchor a display, plus the investment will pay off. Jim Abicht, owner of The Christmas Store in Smithfield, VA, has an $8000 life-size Santa Claus as a resident of his showfloor. “I’m not afraid to buy a prop for the store,” he says, “People remember you for that.”  

Height – Play around with various heights in your displays to add visual interest.

Rule of 3 – Sophisticated monochromatic palettes have their place in smaller displays, but to make a larger scheme truly eye-catching always have at least three different hues represented.

Signage – Don’t be afraid to use some clever verbiage to give buyers a little push. Signs like “Don’t forget the teacher!” etc. are not-too-subtle ways to give a browser a gentle nudge.

Set the Scene – Put your displays in an everyday setting so buyers can really envision it in their home.

Keep it Clean – Might seem obvious, but this is true of the store as a whole. Dusty products look tired and will deter buyers.

What Buyers Want – Higher ticket items make great display anchors as aspirational items for shoppers. They get them thinking – and hopefully – buying!

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