Experts predict holiday spending will increase 10% worldwide this year; however, an increasing amount of money is spent online. With year-end sales representing 20%+ of annual sales for many retailers, we’ve assembled a guide for PADI Retailers to maximise income during the year-end shopping season.
Holiday Pie Charts and Other Stats to Digest
The majority of holiday spending in the UK still takes place in brick-and-mortar retail stores; however, online sales grew to 15% in 2015 and are expected to reach 20% this year.
Worldwide, ecommerce was the main source of spending growth during the holidays in 2015. According to VISA: there was a 7.4% increase in spending with online retailers in December 2015 versus just 0.1% for physical stores. That said, “Black Friday” continues to grow in popularity worldwide and falls on 25 November this year. Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK are countries where Black Friday was especially popular in 2015 (source: Adobe).
Shopping Begins Early in Denmark, Sweden and the UK
Last year, consumers in Denmark, Sweden and the UK began their holiday shopping in November and were attracted by discounts and promotions. Shoppers in Austria, Belgium and Germany started shopping later, and were not influenced by special sales days (source: Adobe).
Taken together, the data suggest shoppers will buy their gifts person. But smart retailers will promote their special holiday offerings online, and start early (depending on location).
Create a List of Gift Ideas
In 2015 PADI’s blog received nearly 7,000 visits from divers Googling scuba diver gift ideas. Thousands more visits came from social media followers who clicked on our gift ideas blog post and forwarded it to their friends.
Shoppers want to give the perfect gift, but don’t want to work too hard to find it.
Look around your store and identify what would make a great gift:
- For someone looking to spend a small amount: €20 / £20 or less.
- For divers with children
- For new divers
- For divers who love to travel
- For divers who prefer experiences rather than things.
Write down all your ideas. Then, consider what items could be bundled together and how you might create a unique package. For example:
A tropical travel package could include items you already in stock such as: a mesh bag, lightweight dive kit, etc. But why not add a rash guard, gear marking pen, or portable luggage scale?
Another option: create a complete warm-water rental package and offer a gift voucher good for one week. Comprehensive bundles like these are easy to buy and make the gift giver look like a thoughtful genius.
Promote Ideas and Offers Online and In-Store
- Post the gift idea list as a blog post or webpage to attract searches.
- Promote PADI eLearning to profit from holiday shoppers who are ready to buy now.
- Post individual deals on social media with a link to your site to “view the complete list.”
- Create a flyer for your store. Place it at the counter and near the front door.
- Use colorful stickers to denote items that are a “smart gift” or “customer favourite.”
- Ensure customers are aware of sale and special items with adjacent signs.
For example, if a free mesh bag is on offer with the purchase of a mask, fins snorkel set: post a sign adjacent to the gear bags, “Get a Free Gear Bag, Ask Us How.”
Via Email. Yes, Email.
Email remains the the #1 way consumers find out about holiday deals and bargains. The exception is the UK where email ranks #2 after online search ads.
When promoting your holiday gift ideas and specials, remember your message will compete with hundreds of others. Be as creative as possible with your subject lines, get crazy if you have to, for example: WE’RE GIVING AWAY A PONY…who wouldn’t click on that?
Even if the pony giveaway is a drawing for a pony bottle, the user has opened your email. Mission accomplished.
Include Buy Now options
Always include an option and incentive for readers to buy now. You can’t know what “amazing” deal is up next in the customer’s inbox. If you don’t have online checkout on your website, there’s always eLearning. Customers can buy an eLearning gift pass from you for any PADI online course including Open Water, ReActivate and Scuba Tune-Up.
Make A Holiday eCard
All you need to make a great holiday eCard is a handful of photos. Grab some from your 2016 Facebook albums, and use a popular tool like JibJab or Elf Yourself. Not into funny cards? Invite customers to submit their best topside and underwater images from 2016. Put together a shareable video slideshow with holiday music using Animoto. It’s free, easy, and the result is remarkably professional. Your customers will look forward to receiving your eCard to find out if their images made the cut. You can also use Animoto to create a custom holiday greeting. A local car dealership made a fun, shareable video with just a few images shot on a mobile device.
Your holiday eCard will stand out from the typical holiday promotional emails, but it’s still a marketing piece. Create something your customers will want to share, and you’ve got instant word of mouth advertising!
Host A Customer and Staff Appreciation Party
Sometimes a great way to sell things is by not overtly selling things. Invite your best customers and staff to an evening event with drinks and snacks. A prize drawing, awards, and an evening of sharing stories strengthen the bonds between your business and the people who make it what it is. Browse PADI Gear for staff recognition and customer appreciation gift ideas.
If you’ve already implemented all the ideas above. Kudos! Here are a few more ideas from the field that might not work for everyone, but are worth considering.
Offer delivery – some people have more money than time. Others want to avoid having boxes delivered to their home. Consider offering free delivery for purchases over a certain amount, or within a certain distance from the store.
Layaway – for customers wanting to get a little something for themselves, layaway can be a good option. Do your research before implementing this program.
Promotional credit – offer customers credit based on how much they buy. For example: spend €500 or more, receive 10% credit towards a purchase in 2017.
Further reading If you’re interested in additional holiday shopping statistics. Adobe has a holiday 2016 report with shopping statistics by country including: the UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland and Norway.