Trends & Features

The alternative 12 days of Christmas

12 punters thumbing

Sure, digital is everything these days – we can speak to the entire globe with just one click, not to mention measure reach and engagement to the nth degree, but isn’t there still a great satisfaction in having glossy paperwork in your hand to peruse at your leisure? Newspapers, catalogues and brochures convey a richness and tangible quality that is difficult to replicate on a three-inch screen. I’m not suggesting to lead with print, I’m just saying don’t forget it – many of our consumers still respond well to it.

Eleven store staff smiling

All our digital marketing will be for nothing if a consumer walks into the store (prompted by a perfectly targeted Facebook post perhaps?) ready to spend, and they are faced with shop staff who show no interest or are less engaging than the post we served them. There’s no need for ‘have a nice day’ fake cheeriness, but nobody wants to be served by a grumpy chops, especially in the run up to Christmas. Leave “Bah Humbug” in the stock room please.

Ten 10KS that are 10K

The last couple of years have seen several races exposed as being shorter than the distance they were supposed to be. It shouldn’t be too difficult should it? Just as no runner wants their performance scrubbed, no brand wants their name associated with a race with those troubles.

Nine ladies (strictly) dancing

Christmas day will no doubt see another glitterball voted into the hands of an ex-soap C-lister, but whether we like it or not, celebrity equals influence, equals sales. I’ve covered it before, but a strong fanbase on Instagram or Facebook helps us get our messages across instantly. If you don’t yet have that reach, could you sponsor or collaborate with a (local) celebrity or group who does? You’ll need to have common values – and of course a similar audience. Having the local football team play with your store name on their shirts is just the start, connecting with the players, families and fans of that team is where the real value is.

(Last) eight maids a milking

England into the last eight of the 2018 World Cup would be good for us all (yes, I know Celtic readers may take some convincing here). A handful of victories and some entertaining performances through the summer’s big sporting focus puts consumers in the mood to celebrate (and spend!).

Seven tills a ringing

It is no exaggeration to say that for many retailers, Christmas and New Year can be make or break time. A good Christmas period can carry a business through the lean times, so hearing those till bells ring is music to our ears. We need to make the most of the gifting opportunities and the annual rush on fitness and lifestyle good intentions. All those “New Year, New You” headlines are just around the corner. A welltimed window display or targeted Facebook post can encourage new customers through the door.

Six geese a laying… golden eggs

All successful businesses have one. A golden egg, a USP, a product or a service that stands them apart from competition. The challenge is to make the most of that characteristic, but not to be 100 per cent reliant on it. A running brand with one great-selling shoe is vulnerable to a poor update or production problems. A retailer with just one channel would be under threat if the ceiling literally falls in and they can’t open the doors for a month, or if their online payments system shuts down. Omni-channel may be a buzzword, but it’s also common sense. Not only does a combination of in-person, website, mobile and app enable us to connect with the consumer at multiple points in their lives, but it also encourages retail diversification.

Five gold (olympic) rings

And wouldn’t it be great if they really were golden again, and not tarnished by drug scandals and corruption? With two years until Tokyo, progress needs to be made in sorting out the problems focussed on Russia and Kenya. Let’s not assume home athletes are all squeaky clean either. The blue ribbon Olympic sport of Track and Field needs strong leadership to rebrand and reengage spectators, and fast.

Four (cold) calling birds (or blokes)

Please stop it! I don’t look after my company’s car fleet, I don’t collect debt and as for that Canadian pharmacy that writes more often than my nearest and dearest…

Perfect pack-a-ging

Present(ation) is everything – and a well wrapped gift isn’t just for Christmas. Who doesn’t love a miniature bag of jelly sweets as a surprise thank you with their online order? It’s not just online retail either – there’s no need to go all Rowan Atkinson in Love Actually, but in-store purchases are made infinitely more special and memorable when the store staff take a little extra care before the customer leaves the store.

Two turtle doves… or homing pigeons…or delivery drivers

Deliveries that arrive fast are no longer just desired, they are expected. Amazon Prime has conditioned us to expect next day delivery. Order at 11.59pm and your book/CD/car/ kitchen appliance are with you the next day. And it’s a tough standard to match. Even with dedicated B2B software and internationally supported phone lines, the 24-hour economy is demanding. Brands are getting better at this, but for both manufacturer and retailer, the option of next day delivery has become the norm, not the exception.

And a partridge in a pear tree

Yes. That too.

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