How will brands win at retail this Christmas? According to Matt Botham, Strategic Insight Director at Kantar, Christmas has a degree of protection against the effects of a recession.
In the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, ‘we didn’t pull back too much’, with ‘spend about 11% higher than the preceding three months – a lower uplift than some years, but not the lowest’. Marks & Spencer research shows that 15% of consumers plan to start shopping early this year.
Fresh from a project helping our long-term client Fortnum & Mason to optimise its environment before the shopping starts in earnest, we dive into the detail of design that helps retailers to deliver for customers and make every penny and pound count during this critical trading period:
- Operational design details are key to protecting revenue at retail this Christmas: it might sound humdrum, but how are your baskets replenished? Is gifting equipment properly housed for rapid wrapping?
- A modular, space-efficient approach to fixtures allows for change of pace during different day parts – ingenious joinery means a display unit that shows product off to best advantage on Tuesday at 3pm can morph into an extra till come Saturday morning
- Speaking of tills, consider implementing express models. This caters for customers who need to be in and out quickly, either because they’re wary lingering or because they’re familiar with your Christmas product range and don’t need to browse
- Delve into the granular detail of the customer journey. Is the QMS optimised for speed and impulse purchases? For our client, saving ten seconds on each transaction will make hundreds of thousands of pounds of difference. This is design work entirely rooted in commercial reality
- Do consult floor staff before considering or implementing changes – they’re the ones in charge of operations and will know what needs to be where, when
And it’s Christmas, so don’t forget the ‘cushions and curtains’ to add softness and warmth, effectively demarcate product zones and impart a sorely needed feeling of cosiness and goodwill. If ever there was a time for retail to rise to the occasion to surprise and delight customers, that time is now.