Salvaging the vacation Shopping Season

Retailers in the united states plan the worst and expect the best.

This book takes readers through a 360-degree perspective of social media in businesses.

Georgetown Gifts, which sells cards, candles and teddies in Ann Arbor, Mich., is in the shivering shadow of the among the nation’s largest & most beleaguered employment sectors–the American auto industry. As you may imagine, with General Motors Corp., Ford and Chrysler experiencing dire sales, the neighborhood mood on the eve of the holiday season is morose. The husband of Georgetown owner Laurie Wicks can be an engineer at GM, so she senses the gloom all too well.

"It’s almost paralyzing," she says. "People listed below are very apprehensive. We’re just longing for the very best."

On that note, Wicks is gaining a happy face, supplying a nearly 20 percent discount for Thanksgiving-weekend shoppers and giving everyone through the entranceway a free of charge holiday ornament. She’s boosted marketing with ads in local publications, an e-mail blitz and any occasion open house to start the growing season. She emphasizes that retailers that show appreciation for regular customers will benefit.

"Eighty percent of your business is 20 percent of your clients," she says. "If they walk in here, I am hoping my customers feel they’re from the busyness."

Still, Georgetown Gifts has tightened up its holiday inventory. Some items were ordered at half their normal count, Wicks says, and higher-priced goods, like the $50 teddies she once carried, are no more on the shelf.

"I believe people are still likely to buy," she says, "they’re not likely to spend as much. They are able to still come in and purchase excellent gifts in the $10 to $25 cost range."

Hobby Works, a chain of four stores with an online arm in suburban Washington, DC, is more bullish on the holiday season. President and founder Mike Brey has boosted advertising 50 percent, increased his e-mail blasts, stocked through to inventory and initiated a tax-free sale for Thanksgiving weekend. That’s along with his regular marketing efforts, such as direct-mail offers to about 5,000 repeat customers: Recent purchasers are rewarded with gift cards worth about 3 percent of what they allocated to their last visit, thanks to the chain’s point-of-sale software.

"In my own business, you’re discussing nearly twenty five percent of your sales and a bigger percentage of your earnings from the holidays," Brey says. "So all you do is magnified by this year. I’m closing my eyes, plugging my ears and pulling the trigger."

With Christmas falling on a Thursday, Brey knows re-ordering inventory will be difficult if not impossible. Therefore, Hobby Works has stocked up, including purchasing goods for pennies on the dollar at area bankruptcy and going-out-of-business sales. Store staples such as for example train sets and remote-control airplanes are fully stocked aswell. Brey says getting the goods comes into play handy for a shopping season that he predicts will be late breaking.

"Fourteen days before Christmas you begins having big days and big weekends," he says, "and unless you have stuff on the shelf to market, you’re not likely to have the numbers."

Indeed, some sectors of retail are actually finding out about for the holiday season, especially as price points decrease. Take Distribution Video and Audio, a DVD-movie wholesaler located in Burbank, Calif., whose clients include 99¢ Stores and K-Mart, for instance. The $25-million-a-year company is booming because big-box retailers and independent shops are stocking through to its closeout titles, which frequently retail for $9.99 and less.

"Entertainment does well in recession because people need to get away from the currency markets and the news headlines," says DVA president Ryan Kugler. "The economy has affected us in a positive way. The retailer wants a deal, so when they are able to buy a movie from us for a buck or two, they can not fail."

Kugler says retailers that double down on marketing efforts when the economy goes south will survive.

"Stop watching the news headlines," he says. "We keep cold calling clients and finding new accounts. Venture out and provide whatever promotions you can. There are so many methods for you to promote yourself. We do e-mail blasts, and we do personal letters to retailers. Just do it."

Tom Hoeck, director of marketing and sales for 3-year-old ACandyStore.com, a direct-to-consumer online retailer, seconds that emotion. The growing confectioner has already established robust banner advertising, e-mail blasts, online online codes and direct mail attracts its customers this holidays. Hoeck says, "You merely need to be aggressive together with your marketing."

Orders are up up to now this year, however the amount of candy each customer buys is down, Hoeck says. That evens out in order that, at least in American candyland, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Actually, he says, "It will likely be business as usual."