As a retailer, the holidays are a bittersweet time. On the one hand, sales numbers are up. On the other hand, crowds of cranky customers clog the stores. Since you’re working anyway, why not entertain yourself by spotting these holiday shopping stereotypes in your store?
Fran tries really hard to be organized and look put together, but the disheveled appearance of herself and her less-than-happy children indicates otherwise. She may make every effort to be patient with her sticky-fingered, snotty-nosed tikes, but truthfully she can’t leave your store soon enough. She’s shopping out of obligation and with the secret hope she can pull off a holiday perfect enough to merit Hallmark movie rights. What Fran really needs is a glass of wine and a bubble bath.
Dan is the antithesis of Fran. Dan wanders around the mall looking like the cross between a lost child and a leftover from Woodstock. While Fran faces her stress head-on, Dan is overwhelmed to the point of wandering. He strolls aimlessly, forgetting whom he needs to buy gifts for and clueless about what they might like. Dan needs a compass to point him in the right direction and a tour guide to help him notice what’s around him.
Jimmy is the guy who shows up to checkout with a pile of gift sets. He’s your typical pre-packaged patron. In the words my cotton-farming Granddad, “If a little does a little good, a lot will do a lot of good.” Jimmy lives and dies by the endcap displays you only see around the holidays. If he sees one thing that reminds him of someone, he buys the entire gift set. Forget that Aunt Marge only uses the hand lotion; she’s getting the bath salts, body wash, and hair tonic, too.
You’ll recognize Barbara as soon as she enters the store. Not only does her perfume leave an olfactory trail long after she’s passed, but her jewelry will blind you and her hair is freshly coifed. She’s an affluent woman with impeccable taste. Show her brand names only or don’t bother. It doesn’t matter to Barbara that her two-year old grandson can’t tell the difference between Baby Einstein and Harvey Weinstein. To Barbara, image is everything.
Last Minute Larry
Retailers may be enjoying chestnuts over an open fire before Larry decides to do his holiday shopping. He’ll be disappointed at the lack of selection on Christmas Eve and have to pick up cranberry sauce at a convenience store because he put it off until the grocery stores were already closed. Larry will provide the following disclaimer as friends and family unwrap their gifts: “It was all they had left.”
Imogene is incapable of making a decision on her own. She wants input from retail employees and other customers first. You’ll hear her say something like, “You look like you’re his age, do you like this?” Or when you ask if there’s something you can help her find, her response will be something along the lines of, “What do you have for a 15-year old whose voice just changed, who still sleeps with a security blanket, and who is always pulling his pants up?” Your response makes you the scapegoat when the gift doesn’t elicit a standing ovation and bear hug.
A retailer’s inventory is their own lab of balancing supply and demand. On the one hand, you want to have enough inventory available for customers who want it. On the other hand, you don’t want so much inventory that you’re stuck with extra stuff you can’t sell.
In today’s section of the Retail Tips blog, I want to introduce an extremely valuable remarketing tool for retailers called Sniply. As a modern Renaissance wo(man) running a retail business, you have to maintain a strong social media presence in addition to your physical store to keep up with the competition.