30 Tips to Boost Your Holiday Sales

You’ve been prepping for the holidays since the summer shows, but this month the Christmas countdown begins in earnest. The following tips, from retailers and other industry professionals, include new ideas as well as basics that are always worth a reminder. All have the potential to help you make extra sales during the all-important holiday selling season.

  1. Clean it up. Look at the store as if you’re a customer and clean every surface. (Ruth Mellergaard, GRID/3 International, New York)

  2. Add a counter. Service is vital during holidays. Adding another service counter helps ensure that customers are served quickly. (Ruth Mellergaard)

  3. Remember the powder room. Women notice if customer restrooms are immaculate and decorated with something festive. (Ruth Mellergaard)

  4. Make your holiday decor stand out.McCaskill & Co., for example, covers the front of the building with a waterfall of white lights. (Elizabeth Campbell, McCaskill & Co., Destin, Fla.)

  5. Use festive color. Create a feeling of celebration. Cover display-case floorboards with fabric. Try silver, gold, or purple with a metallic thread or finish. (Ruth Mellergaard)

  6. Wrap empty gift boxes with your gift papers. Stack them on cases, the coffee bar, or the customer service desk to remind customers you offer gift wrapping and allow them to quickly select a paper. (Ruth Mellergaard)

  7. Make it exclusive. Show your appreciation to good customers with a special invitation-only event. Decorate the store, and serve wine and hors d’oeuvres. For an even more exclusive event, hold a catered buffet at a country club, arrange security, and invite some vendors to bring in their lines. (David Blevins, Juniker Jewelry Co., Jackson, Miss.)

  8. Time invitations to special events carefully. The ideal window is between 10 and 14 days before the event. Before then, people forget. After that, they’ve made other plans. (David Blevins)

  9. Store a local vendor’s line. For a minor cost in increased insurance, you get a boost in your inventory and a reputation for carrying that type of product. The vendor, of course, must have a line of deliverable products. (David Peters, Jewelers of America)

  10. Hold a significant drawing. An invitation to enter a drawing with a substantial prize gets customers’ attention. Send invitations in an unusual envelope, such as a clear plastic tube or a bottle. Require customers to register personally, and have sales associates call the week before to encourage them to register. (Elizabeth Campbell)

  11. Release new additions to your unique jewelry design line during the holidays. When customers come in to see the new trademarked and patented addition to Juniker Jewelry Co.’s Heritage Collection, for example, they also see the other 150 pieces in the collection. (David Blevins)

  12. Generate wish lists. Even at the last minute, there’s time to create a little party to build your wish list. (James Porte, Porte Marketing Group, Weston, Fla.) You can mail wish lists to gift givers, but you’ll increase your chances of making a sale if you call personally to let them know what you have for them to choose from. (Elizabeth Campbell)

  13. Create postcard mailers. Design and send promotional postcards or other customized communications using online technology called variable data printing. In two to three days, your personalized advertising can be in the mail to a group of any size. (James Porte)

  14. Tell stories. If the jewelry in your store lends itself to stories, now is the perfect time to tell them. Stories told about Juniker’s antique and estate collection at a special event hosted by a local bank for its investment customers resulted in eight major sales. (David Blevins)

  15. Take it outside. If you participate in professional women’s groups, check for meetings that don’t have a speaker scheduled. It’s a good time to introduce jewelry to members, especially impulse-purchase products under $200. (Jo Rosenblum King, Rosenblum Fine Jewelers, Houston)

  16. Extend last-minute advertising money. If you have any advertising money left, call print or electronic media to see if they have any unsold space left. You may be able to buy it at deep discounts. (John Green, Lux Bond & Green, West Hartford, Conn.)

  17. Promote overstock. Use extra TV and radio ad dollars to focus attention on any overstock you have. (Caroline Stanley, Red Jewel Inc., Redondo Beach, Calif.)

  18. Watch the competition. If it fits your merchandise strategy, stock some of the types of products your competition is advertising. If a customer asks for the product, you’ll have something to show them. (John Green)

  19. Hire vendors’ sales reps for the holidays. They know jewelry and selling and often come from a retail environment. (Suzanne DeVries, Diamond Staffing Solutions, Derry, N.H.)

  20. Consider hiring temporary sales associates from other specialty or department stores. They might want to pick up additional work at the holidays and some might even have a following. (Suzanne DeVries)

  21. Remember due diligence. Whoever you hire, run a background check and call references. A dishonest employee can generate a lot of loss in a short time. (Suzanne DeVries)

  22. Keep standards high. Apply the same employment policies and dress standards to seasonal staff that you do to permanent staff. Relaxing standards for seasonal help sets a bad example and can hurt your reputation. (Suzanne DeVries)

  23. Overstaff. Don’t be caught shorthanded. During your busiest season, it’s better to be overstaffed than understaffed. When things are slow, you can always reduce hours. (Suzanne DeVries)

  24. Think long term. Every employee represents a long-term investment. Develop a relationship with part-time employees, as you would with customers. You can hire them again next year or for Valentine’s Day, trunk shows, or whenever you need trusted staff. It saves time and money in hiring and training. (Suzanne DeVries)

  25. Inspire the sales associates. The holidays mean long hours and intense work. Owners and managers have to generate energy to keep sales associates motivated. (James Porte)

  26. Set a sales goal for the holidays. Create a holiday-themed poster to keep track of sales and post it where employees can see it, or present it at morning team meetings. Recognize “super sales.” (Elizabeth Campbell)

  27. Book local entertainment. Ask the high school string quartet to provide music for an evening or two and make a donation to the school’s music department. In addition to music, you’ll bring in a lot of goodwill. (David Peters)

  28. Make it warm. Serve homemade cookies and beverages during the holiday season. (Elizabeth Campbell)

  29. Fill the store with holiday scents. Even if you already serve coffee or water, add something festive like hot cider or hot chocolate. If you have a stove, add cinnamon to the cider while it’s warming to fill the store with holiday fragrance. You can also use a Crock-Pot to heat cider. (Ruth Mellergaard)

  30. Connect with the customers. The most important step you can take to ensure a successful holiday season is to connect at a grassroots level with customers by contacting them personally and offering them specific suggestions. Personal connections count. (Caroline Stanley)