Planning Christmas 2010

With Halloween merchandise already in stores it is time to firm up Christmas plans for 2010. The Nielsen Company is predicting flat holiday sales and Deloitte is predicting a 2% increase in retail sales over last year. However, there is some good news. Nielson is predicting an increase in the number of shoppers this holiday season. Last year only 1% of shoppers reported that they intended to spend more for the holidays. This year 5% of holiday shoppers are expecting to spend more in 2010 than they did in 2009. Nielsen predicts an increase in jewelry holiday sales to come from consumers making $100,000 or more in annual income.

Now is the time to firm up your inventory merchandise offerings, sales promotions, media placement and training needs. Should you begin planning now to increase the quality/price of some products? Which product categories have customers been showing higher demand for higher quality products? What similarities might exist within your customer base? How do you use your customer databases to help you understand what your customers are most likely to be interested in purchasing? What strategies will you use to initiate early purchases by holiday customers? How do you use the internet to communicate with holiday customers? How do you use your web site to promote transactions? Are there any alternations which need to be made to preexisting orders with vendors based on your most recent evaluations of consumer demand for holiday purchases?

Again this year, retail online sales are predicted to grow by a wide margin. Nearly 15% of shoppers plan to make more purchases online. This 16% increase over 2009 is being driven by higher income consumers.  How will you complete with online retailers for holiday sales?

Black Friday is right around the corner. What strategies will you employ to build store traffic for holiday buyers? What media and marketing communication messages will you employ to attract holiday buyers? Cyber Monday is the Monday after Black Friday and is a big sales promotion day for online retailers. How will your marketing strategies change before and after Cyber Monday? After Cyber Monday high end retailers will be less vulnerable to online retail offerings. Consider pricing strategies to gain an advantage before Cyber Monday with fewer discounts offered after Cyber Monday. The bottom line is to have good merchandising, marketing and sales plans for the 2010 holiday selling season.

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