Christmas is big business in the United States. In spite of economy slumps, National Retail Federation statistics show that 2011 retail holiday sales were larger than expected, rising 4.1 percent over 2010 to a full $471.5 billion. While all we have are estimates for the 2012 Christmas season, expectations are already high.
Organic purchases are continually on the rise. On top of that, consumers are prepped to go organic or green around the holidays, so Christmas is a great chance for organic retailers to reap in some big profits, especially if you have some cool holiday marketing plans in place. Below are 15 great Christmas promotions ideas that can help increase holiday sales.
One small point to consider before we dive into Christmas promotions, is that Christmas is not the one and only winter event going on. Pay special attention to how you're recognizing other holidays during the Christmas season so you don't alienate possible customers.
Many Americans are moved by good deeds and want to help others. In fact, according to The Corporation for National and Community Service, American volunteers served about 8.1 billion hours in 2010 - hours of which were valued at an estimated $173 billion. A study by the Giving USA Foundation and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, found that charities took in nearly $300 billion in 2010.
During the Christmas season people, your customers included, tend to be in an even more giving mood, so match that mood by spreading some good during the Christmas season. Not only is it just plain nice to participate in charitable activities, but it's great PR for your company. Below are some ideas.
- Hold a toy drive for local kids.
- Donate a percentage of all sales to a charity or two of choice.
- Adopt a local family-in-need - contact your local Salvation Army to learn how.
- Hold a canned food drive.
- Participate in a visible community improvement project.
- Guide to volunteer opportunities
- Get the most out of volunteering
Did you know that many holiday shoppers are easily overwhelmed by the sheer amount of shiny Christmas decorations they run into each season? That doesn't mean you shouldn't decorate, just that you should tone it down some.
You can decorate without going overboard on Christmas cheer if you stick to a more natural Christmas decor theme. As an organic retailer, it's really smart to decorate with natural, handmade, wintry decor that keeps your customers in the mood for natural and organic products. Using natural decor you already have, such as natural wreaths, organic fruits and flowers, and retail goods such as candles and organic candy displays, also keeps costs low, because you're doubling up sell-ready items as decor.
As the Christmas season gets close, it's wise to stock up on seasonal organic goods you don't normally offer. Many organic retailers stock the following during the holiday season...
- Organic Christmas flowers and organic poinsettias (check with local greenhouse growers for supply.
- Organic chocolates and other organic Christmas candy.
- Recycled gift wrap.
- Organic hot cocoa and special holiday coffee.
- LED Christmas Lights.
- General Christmas goods such as wreaths, Christmas trees, ornaments, greeting cards and stockings.
- Specialty seasonal fruits such as organic pomegranates and tangerines.
- Organic holiday cookies - either from your own in-house bakery or a local supplier.
Used carefully, Christmas music may increase sales. However, relentless, annoying and loud Christmas music for three months straight does not make anyone jolly. In fact research shows it can make people downright cranky and less likely to hang out in your store. There's a time and place for Christmas music - such as at a large Christmas event or better yet, if you can get a local band to play live.
Set aside specific and limited times for holiday themed music and go with more neutral music choices for the bulk of the season. When you do choose Christmas music, experts suggest going with classical melodies, such as Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker vs. overly exuberant holly jolly music.
6. Give holiday treats
Offering small samples of organic Christmas treats can help increase sales and promotes a general feeling of good cheer. Offer samples of Theo's seasonal organic chocolates, little cups of hot organic cocoa or cider, organic candy canes for the kiddos, or organic gingerbread cookies. Your options are limitless, but it's best to offer samples of goodies you actually sell. Set up a sample booth near said Christmas goodies to entice customers.
7. Offer free gift wrap
If you sell more than food, consider offering free gift wrap for customers who purchase a minimum set amount of holiday gift items, such as books, calendars, pottery, toys and more. Choose a neutral, recycled holiday wrap.
You should plan at least one or two major Christmas events at your store. Make it a nice big occasion that will encourage customers to spend money, but also have fun. If you have a customer email list, be sure to send out messages about your event and post the event on your business website too. Some ideas are included below..
- A huge Christmas sale can be an event on its own, but to make it festive have treats and other fun activities on hand.
- Hold a Christmas tree decorating and lighting party complete with hot cocoa, gingerbread and local music. Let customer's kids help decorate your store tree.
- Bring in an organic, natural or local cookbook author and hold a demonstration of some organic holiday recipes.
- Hold a wreath making or Christmas crafts class, using goods that can be purchased in your store.
Make sure to celebrate kids during the holiday season with special extras just for them. For example, create a little holiday toy land area if you sell toys or set up a "Letters to Santa" area. Hold holiday coloring contests or a gingerbread house making event.
When planning out the Christmas season, popular themes can often guide your plans and help them gel. For example go with a "Twelve Days of Christmas" sale or celebrate, "Oh, christmas tree." Frosty the Snowman or other general winter snow themes can go over well because snow is not only a neutral Christmas theme, but both soothing and fun at the same time, plus a great plug for winter products like hot cocoa and organic chestnuts.