Category Key: How to Boost Christmas Sales Print
Written by Marilyn Largent   
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 11:03 AM America/New_York

Largent_MarilynStaff recommendations of products always help, but at this busy time of year, there may be too many shoppers to assist in person. 

Another way to engage guests is with shelftalker reviews—short and simple, handwritten and signed by a staff member. “A fast-paced suspense story that kept me up all night! Made me realize God is always in control!” signed Cheryl. 

In the children’s area, where out-of-town grandparents and relatives may be purchasing gifts, a shelftalker like this could be helpful: “Teaches children ages 4-8 that we can talk to God anywhere, anytime,” signed Amy. 

Some children’s titles, like The Action Bible, will nearly sell themselves if shoppers see the interior art, so have a copy open. 

Staff rewards

Incentivize your staff to read and talk about the books in your store by recognizing the staff member in front of other staff and maybe give a Starbucks’ card occasionally. Let each participating staff member pick out his or her favorite book of the week, then highlight and sale-price it for customers.

Guests in specialty stores expect higher-level service and atmosphere—especially at Christmastime. Fragrant wassail, seasonal music and a few Christmas cookies can help create a hospitable environment. 

Cross-promotion of products—DVDs with books and gift items, for example—will assist a guest in the gifting mindset. Stack books on tables in tree-shaped pyramids. 

Consider gift-wrapping items you expect to sell a good number of during the season, with some stacked on display ready for purchase and gifting. 

Private sales

Private sales for your top customers are really the time to pull out all the stops—with food, music, free drawings and more. The best time to do this is off-hours on your slowest day of the week and early in the season so you are on their minds and they can visit several more times before Christmas. You want guests 
to stay as long as possible, so consider putting a jigsaw puzzle out on a table ready to play.

Tent cards can be reminders: “Don’t forget the babysitter,” “Grandma would love this” or “Perfect for a co-worker.” Hand guests a printed sheet with suggestions. 

Asking each customer about an impulse item at checkout—“Would you like to add a copy of ___ for just $4?”—can really add up. Change these out every week so there is always some new surprise deal. 

Check with various publishers for overstock or even out-of-print items at 80%-90% off to make great margin on this add-on item.


Marilyn Largent is senior director, trade sales at David C. Cook.