It’s that time of the year again – the temperatures are falling, coats and jackets are appearing (on people, not just in stores!) and just possibly, your sales may be cooling off as well.

Now, considering winter in Brisbane is something like summer in a lot of places, you would think people had no reason to complain. But it’s all relative, and people do complain about the days where the temperature drops to single digits. They also tend to stay inside….

Are you finding you need to go the extra mile in terms of sales and merchandising to attract customers during winter? Here are some ideas that may help:

Go Bright

bright is better in the dead of winter

Brighten your shop up as much as you can. Differentiate from the other shops nearby (who are full of blacks or winter whites) by installing a visual merchandising theme that incorporates shocking pink or banana yellow. Bright colours will not only make your shop unique, but they are psychologically proven to lift the mood.

Coffee Talks

coffee talks very, very loud in retail in winter

Doesn’t everyone find comfort in hot drinks during winter? Consider installing a little coffee shop booth in your shop, or hand out a coupon with every order for a free coffee from the cafe next door. Either way you’re guaranteed to have customers warming to you….!

Tag Along with Events in the area

yes, they even have ice skating rinks in Brisbane sometimes

Somewhere near your shop there will be a winter activity underway. Check with your local council, and find an event (a temporary ice-skating rink, for instance, or a music festival) that you can be involved in promoting. If it’s in your price range, consider donating prizes, or sponsoring the event. If it’s not, why not just have an in-store competition where tickets to the event is the prize? While you’re at it, contact your local press office for some extra publicity. You’ll be targeting locals in the area, and your name will become more publicized.

Find a Unique Winter Line to Sell

Funky thermoses would be a great winter line for a homewares shop

Do your research and think outside the box. Find something special or rare that your target market would appreciate in winter, and that you can stock as a one-off winter line. Like;
·         An indie designer’s coat collection?
·         A cute range of thermoses?
·         Maybe an accessory line of beanies and leg warmers that’s different from the run-of-the-mill offerings…
People will buy for the novelty factor, the rarity and the uniqueness, but also because it’s not going to be around for long. Implied scarcity is always an effective way of encouraging sales.

Warm but not hot

nothing says cozy like an in-store fireplace

Nobody can underestimate the cosiness of a roaring fireplace. If your shop is lucky enough to boast one, light it up during the winter months. You’ll encourage people to linger. But please don’t have your heater turned up to unbearable levels of warmth – there’s nothing more off-putting. Set central heating to a level that is warmer than outside but not noticeably hot.

So enjoy winter, such as it is, and use the change in season to your shop’s advantage; with this slightly edited quote from Nobel Prize-winning author, Albert Camus, for inspiration:
“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me [and my shop] an invincible summer.”

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