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The “C” word

For most food retailers, Christmas is the time when you make the most revenue. Basket spend increases and transaction numbers grow, particularly in the main 3 day run-up to the big day. But are you planning to maximise customer purchasing over the festive period, or are you hoping for the best?

Customer needs are in fact broadly predictable. If you can demonstrate that you understand and are meeting those needs, then you have a great story to share with your customers, for them to see how you’re making Christmas easier (and “just right”) for them.

Here are some top tips for maximising revenue over the festive period:

Non Food Gifts:

Your data will confirm for you that the key time for non food gifts to be purchased (from a customer perspective) is from Mid November through to Early December – maximise gift displays at this time. After all you’ve got a fantastic range of unique items to sell haven’t you?

Incentivise multiple purchasing – how many gift items per basket did you sell last year at this time? If it was primarily one item per basket, then the more transactions containing two items will earn you more cash profit than those containing one (even after a discount has been applied). How about a free (low cost / high margin) shop product when you spend over £x on gifts to boost gift purchasing?

Anything that allows a customer to justify spending more with you, will pay you back dividends.

Food Gifts:

Non – perishable edible gifts should be dealt with the same way as non-food gifts.

Managing gifts containing perishable and non perishable items can be tricky, but they can be combined in a way which drives extra revenue for you, the retailer. The image below is of a classic mixed hamper, this hamper needs storing with care before and after giving, which may prevent a customer from purchasing it as a gift.

A bundle of non perishable items, accompanied by a voucher for the purchase of reciprocal perishable items, can lead to increased revenue, trips and new customers – e.g. gift bundle of 2 pickles and some cheese biscuits, plus voucher for £10 worth of Cheese is an easy gift to give to a friend, or colleague – it removes the need for storing the gift chilled and gives the recipient choice of what they want to purchase with the voucher (how well do you know a friend’s preference on cheese?).

It also gives the retailer revenue up front and when (if) the voucher is redeemed, I’ll put money on that the transaction will contain more than £10 worth of Cheese……i.e. incremental revenue.

This type of offer only really works at a local level – but local regular customers is what you want and your best advocates (existing customers) are endorsing you to their friends by purchasing this gift – that’s advertising you can’t buy…….

Feasting Treats:

Where else can a customer get that amazing cranberry sauce you stock? Who else can give them the quality you can for their feast? So how many customers go on and buy everything they need for their festive feast from you? Look at the data from last year and it may surprise you how few.

Bundling can help you – e.g 10% off Veg when you collect your turkey / meat. Yes it may reward some customers, but it will also ensure that more will put veg in their basket. Give the cranberry sauce to customers who’ve spent over £100. After-all, You’re looking to attract customers to choose you for their Christmas shop (over any other choice they have) and no-body does it better than you, do they? So give a little, to gain a lot, rather than give nothing and risk getting nothing….

Sample your “Christmas Best” throughout the run up to Christmas i.e. from late Nov at the latest – if you let customers taste what Christmas could be like, then they are more likely to see why your turkey (and the trimmings) is worth paying a premium for.

Sell the story of what makes your shop better than any other that your customer could choose at Christmas

Lastly good food is not just for Christmas….

There are more feasting occasions around Christmas – Home entertaining may well be the big thing this year. Boxing Day, New Years eve and eating “special everyday” are all opportunities that farm shops can capitalise on at this time.

Also what can you do to encourage the peak of customers you see in December, to come and visit you in January? a voucher can be a good way to get customers back, but to be effective it needs to be attractive to customers – don’t set the limits on redemption too high, or make them too complicated.

One last note of caution – don’t guess at the metrics on customer behaviours in your shop – because if you get it wrong, you won’t be matching your customers needs……. Instead, use your data to create a plan starting in November, that will ensure that you offer the customer something they need at a time that’s right for them and makes it easy to purchase from you.

If you have correctly identified their needs, your customers don’t have to think about how they will achieve the perfect Christmas, as you’re showing them that you have everything they want – often before they have thought about it.

We are working with our clients to help them deliver the best Christmas experience to their customers – can we help you?