How To Deal With The Retail Holiday Headlines Designed To Scare You

By Bob Phibbs

iStock_000000349703_Small.-holiday-dangerjpg.jpgiStock_000000349703_Small.-holiday-dangerjpgRetail is predictable in many ways.

The same predictable, negative, retail holiday sales stories pop up about bricks and mortar retailers every year.

I’ve studied these stories each year and there is a pattern…

Whether you are a big-box retailer, a C-level executive of a retail store, or you work in a store, you’ll read these same seven stories.

It never fails…

1 - This year, as usual for mid-October, came the NRF's annual predictions that Retail Sales Will Increase. This year the NRF was saying retail sales will increase about 4%, which is great to read. But it was tempered with Sales Conversion rates fall in brick-and-mortar stores In September

2. During the last week in October, headlines like Stores Nervous Will Shoppers Show Up? announced that it will be a tough holiday shopping season for retailers this year.

3. This last week of November, we saw headlines like Online Shopping Up By Double Digits! citing surveys that online retailers will be the only winners this holiday shopping season.

See alsoPreparing For Christmas: How To Unclutter Your Retail Store 

4. But tomorrow morning, after the Black Friday weekend, expect headlines like Disastrous Results For (Fill in blank of retailer) to announce that foot traffic was down in retail stores across the nation. Also expect something like Store Sales Drop By Millions to herald that Black Friday sales were disappointing, signaling serious trouble for the holiday season.

5. During the first week of December, headlines like Wait For The Best Deals - Retailers Will Reward You will announce that shoppers are waiting on the sidelines for more bargains to appear, and retailers will be forced to cut prices to move merchandise.

6.During the week prior to Christmas, headlines like Brick And Mortar Retailers Get Lump Of Coal For Christmas will announce that shoppers are staying away and those who venture in will find big bargains.

7.During the week after Christmas, headlines will announce that holiday sales have – once again – disappointed retailers.

Here’s the kicker to all these stories, in 11 out of twelve years – expert predictions of a dire holiday season didn’t materialize when the final numbers were in sometime in January.


But by January, we'll have moved on to the next distraction...

The reality is Black Friday has been killed by online retailers like Amazon and their counterparts WalMart and Target who offer deals that used to only be available one day days, weeks and even months ahead of time. The day after Thanksgiving has become just a Friday and Thanksgiving has become for many, just a Thursday to shop.

And that's not a crisis, it's just reality.

Here Are 5 Ways How To Deal With Dire Predictions Of Holiday Sales Collapse

1) Understand rotten sells. Let's be honest here, why are these stories recycled year after year? Because they get eyeballs. The reporters are not on your side to paint a rosy picture ... ever. Why? Because you won't turn on your TV, click your smartphone, or forward to a friend unless headlines are hyperbolic.

2) Give it the sniff test. While online sales are growing, Forrester Research forecasts brick and mortar shops will still control roughly 90% of retail sales.  Sniff around for where dramatic increases from online retailers come from, and you'll most likely discover they are created by PR companies looking to create buzz. And let's not forget the wireless providers who get a cut from every mobile sale. Again, consider the source.

3) Control what you can control. You're only as good as the person you leave on the salesfloor for 15 minutes. If it is OK to have Bitter Betty at the cash wrap, Rotten Robert as a greeter, or Distracted Demi behind your are indeed sunk. That's your choice - not the news media or your customers’. Even if there are dire results by some retailers, it doesn't have to be you. Pay attention. A clean, well-organized store with great displays, signage, and lighting doesn’t just happen. You still have to do the work. You still have to earn every dollar. There is no free pass.

4) Understand shoppers have gotten smarter. While you used to tout such a deal as a way to get bodies in the door, you can only fool some of them; the race to the bottom is becoming simply a race to lower-quality items. The only profitable way to win at retail is to use retail sales training to enable your employees to be able to compare and contrast and talk up the premium items.  You get what you pay for has never been truer than today in terms of employees' performance and customers' wallets.

5) What you focus on becomes reality. Think the holidays are bad, every shopper's cheap, and your help is worthless? Guess what? You’re right! But when you envision creating an environment that turns mission shoppers into browsers, when you go out of your way to create an exceptional experience for your employees so they will create an exceptional one for your shoppers, and you see how you can have a blow-out holiday ... you know what? You're well on your way to making it happen.

That’s why I compiled my best retail sales advice so you can help you have a great Holiday season, regardless of the still-upcoming predictable headlines.

You’ll learn how to deal with your employees, your customers and even with your own burnout. It’s free with minimal registration information required.

Discover My Big Idea Tips For Increased Holiday Sales

The 5 Shifts Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Are Making to Generate Up to 20% Higher Profits Every Month

Are you a hungry brick-and-mortar store owner who’s ready for a fresh, people-obsessed strategy? This training is for you if you want to grow your business using a powerful customer experience formula proven to make your cash register chirp.

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