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Decked Out for the Holidays in Décor and Spirit

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If this is the time of year that makes or breaks your bottom line, among the many factors that go into a successful holiday retail season is holiday décor.

Sure, it doesn’t sound like much, compared to the importance of efficient store operations, successful omni-channel marketing and proficient staff, but the way your store looks and feels sometimes makes a difference as to whether you’ll get much-needed foot traffic.

When you’re looking to differentiate yourself from your online competition as well as big box stores, a little goes a long way.

While Saks, Tiffany’s and Barneys in New York have glitz, glamor and budgets to do eye-popping windows, that doesn’t mean your store can’t create some enticing holiday magic.

Ensuring your store aligns with holiday celebrations will help to differentiate you from the competition and freshen up your look.

Whether it’s a string of miniature white lights framing your windows, seasonal colors that resonate, or props like Santa hats on mannequins or red, white and blue marking your Independence Day specials, these things can tell a story and evoke an experience that makes people want to come in your store.

Tell a story with signage. Rather than indicate a special price on a product (that everyone else might be doing), or buy-one, get-one free, capture a feeling. A pet shop might want to push dog or cat beds for Christmas. A sign that says, ‘Warm Beds Make Warm Hearts’; or to illustrate a kitchen/cooking deal, “Give Her More Than a KitchenAid, Give Her An Experience,” to promote the product and a baking workshop to go with it.

Retail Doctor suggests you stay away from cheap-looking ornaments and paper; avoid pictures of decorations and opt for the decoration itself; get rid of old decorations that show their age. There’s a difference between vintage and tag sale items. Invest in new, imaginative décor that’s fresh.

Make sure your store evokes an upbeat mood to encourage spending. Have your employees dress festively; put out holiday cookies and treats. A local pet store I frequent hosts holiday parties for pets and their owners, featuring human and dog treats, coupled with a store discount. These are things that make customers smile and stay longer.

Make customers comfortable with stress-free soothing music, calming scents, and if you have room, seating that lets shoppers and their companions kick back for a while.

So much of the mall and retail landscape big box stores look the same. The windows are full of institutional signage and merchandising units that take up most of the window space, hardly letting any natural light in the store.

It’s a sterile environment, which doesn’t encourage people to linger. The way your windows look matters because it allows shoppers to see the unique personality of your store and all its offerings; and it enables customers to discover their own imagination and child-like wonder of possibilities.

Think of the cost outlay of a fully decorated store and internal “trimmings” as a marketing expense that beckons shoppers, making it a retail destination.

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