The holiday season is upon us. While this means increased sales and traffic, it also means seasonal displays must be created. I have to confess that if it were up to me, we’d have the same displays we had in 1996 when we opened. Thankfully, I’m blessed with staff who are not only good at displays, but they actually like them.
Over the years I’ve learned a few things about displays. Good displays are eye-catching, but also make people stop and actually look the books in the display. The holidays give you a great chance to make things look appealing. Two staffers spent part of the weekend putting gorgeous sliver and gold bows on gift books. The effect of this is two-fold. First, books that are already visually arresting now are even more so, and second, by having them wrapped, even a little, it sends a message that this book, this book right here would make a great gift. The subtlety of this pleases me. There are no garish signs, just these lovely, tasteful bows. We’ve wrapped all the Penguin Classics in these bows and the display dump looks stunning.
Stocking stuffers are great impulse buys. I like to have these little books, generally those small ones under $8, right by the register. I’ve often joked that I should just have the whole store on the front counter, because everything would sell faster. There’s something about that point of purchase that makes things look enticing and it’s so easy to just add a book or two. A mix of stocking stuffers for men and women and kids is on the counter at all times because you never know what folks are looking for. This is where I like to have my really unique items. Last year we sold over two hundred construction vehicle utensils from a silver display pail.
The other thing I like to do is bundle gift ideas. This is nothing new, but sometimes harried shoppers are all too happy to buy a book and plush toy that already look like they go together. When it’s time to wrap (and we do offer free gift wrapping — up to a point) I think it’s fun to wrap the book and then tie the toy on with ribbon.
Basically, the challenge of the holidays is to make everything as easy as possible for your shoppers. One thing we do that really makes it easy for people to shop is to have a dedicated bookcase full of our newsletter books, with a copy of the newsletter hanging off a shelf. This creates an opportunity for independent shopping. This helps frees staff time for customers who need more guidance in their book choices.
The basic thing to remember is to make the store look magical, in whatever way works for your store; to make it easier for shoppers to get all their holiday shopping done at your store; and finally, while the holidays are totally insane, remember that you’re helping every family create a memory, and that’s a pretty powerful thing.