Retailers: How Not To Have A Horrible Holiday Season
By Bob Phibbs
Retailers, it’s only a week until Halloween and like Carol Anne said in the scary movie Poltergeist, they’re here.
The they I’m referring to are the all the news stories saying that holiday retail sales will be bad .
The Wall Street Journal did a big story that said that the biggest consequence of the government shutdown was less confident consumers.
The New York Times did a big story about more retailers having to discount product due to the expected soft holiday season.
PriceGrabber announced the results of a survey showing that customers will expect even deeper discounts this season.
I wish I could say this was news, but other than the fact that our elected officials caused our government to shut down, the stories have been the same for years. And since 2008, I’ve tracked those same stories each year.
Pardon me if I sound like a broken record…
Here are the six stories you’ll see the media cover over the next two months:
1. During the third week in October, headlines will announce that it will be a tough holiday shopping season for retailers this year. Done.
2. During the second week of November, headlines will announce that retailers are nervous about the holiday shopping season and that Black Friday will be crucial to their success.
3. After the Black Friday weekend, headlines will announce that there were not enough shoppers in the stores, that Black Friday sales were disappointing, signaling trouble for the holiday season.
4. During the first week of December, headlines will announce that retailers are nervous while shoppers are waiting on the sidelines for more bargains to appear.
5. During the week prior to Christmas, headlines will announce that shoppers are finding tremendous bargains, naturally at the expense of retailers and their bottom lines.
6. During the week after Christmas, headlines will announce that holiday sales have – once again – disappointed retailers.
These stories perpetuate a “waiting for the next shoe to fall” mentality among consumers who hold back their wallets while waiting for deeply discounted bargains. They also affect retailers who expect the worst and cut both labor and prices, thus limiting their profit potential.
If anyone asks how business is this holiday season answer, “Great.”
Set your intention each time you open your store doors that today will be a busy day. Remember it could go either way so why not expect it to be good?
Limit what you put into your mind. Garbage in, garbage out.
Don’t call your buddies and complain how slow a day is or ask how theirs is going. The only thing that matters is the customer walking in through your front doors.
And once you’ve done those, I have something for you so you can focus on a successful, happy, holiday season. It is my yearly big ideas on how to increase profits, raise conversions and hold on to customers at this time of the year.
Again, these stories of doom and gloom predictably play out each year. The funny thing is in almost every instance - they were groundless. That’s right, sales actually increased when all the dust settled.
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