Opinion

Capitalising on the festive pre-Christmas season: top tips for brands

With the average consumer spending a small fortune on Christmas Day, brands are keen to capitalise on this and provide the answer for weary shoppers seeking the perfect groceries and gifts.

With Christmas fast approaching, here are a few top tips to help brands make the most of this prime shopping season.

Be exciting, aspirational and fun

With the ever-growing list of items to buy, brands must make the most of people’s indecision(s) and provide the answer to dithering shoppers by offering them the perfect solution. The ultimate goal is to instil confidence in the shopper that their family and friends will appreciate the time and effort that has gone into the festive shopping trips.

More than anyone, Mums want Christmas to be magical, so it helps if the products she buys can appear magical too. It’s clearly important that presents are well received, but every little element of the Big Day can add to the enjoyment and make it special. Everything should be aspirational and fun.

A good way of meeting this need is, of course, to introduce limited edition Christmas packaging—but brands must strike the balance here and be careful not to go too over-the-top with festive designs that obscure their branding. Shoppers are more tired than ever at this time of the year and shopping for groceries in the week before Christmas can be a nightmare.

Many Mums may agree that a festive version of an everyday grocery item—roll of foil, box of tissues, tin of biscuits – carrying a pretty Christmas pattern will add something to the occasion, and some may even be prepared to pay a few pennies more, but don’t expect them to go searching for their preferred brand in amongst a jumble of packs they find unrecognisable.

If we can put ideas in front of Mum that make mundane products just a little bit more special, then her reaction is likely to be positive. This shows friends and family that she cares, and their appreciation on Christmas day will make all the effort worthwhile, but let’s make sure they are easy to spot and buy.

Redefine discounts

We have all been there—the moment when your loved one opens their present and realises they saw it in the sale last week. Nobody wants to know their gift was fit for the clearance section, there’s nothing magical about that; and really, no-one wants to give a gift that has been heavily discounted (however tempting it might be!). So brands must find ways of redefining discounts. A good way of doing this, without putting a big red sale sticker on it, is by offering a second item free as a gift to the buyer. Not only will this make the buyer feel that they have received good value for money, it also prevents the possibility of an awkward moment on the day!

Think about the long-term when implementing discounts

Shoppers have long memories and will recall great deals and offers they found last year.  Brands must remember that discounts are like toothpaste—once they’re out, there’s no getting them back in the tube. So don’t give everything away at once.

For example, three or four years ago, several leading confectionary brands introduced amazing Christmas offers on big tins of chocolates. Shoppers were surprised and delighted at this, but the following year they expected at least the same discount. Now, a few years on, this has become the norm. Rather than being special, the lower price is simply expected. This Christmas, there is a suggestion that many of these big tins of chocolates have been reduced in size to meet shoppers’ price expectations. If this is so, it will be interesting to see their reactions. In any case, the WOW factor has simply disappeared.

In a nutshell, to make the most out of the Christmas period, brands must be exciting, aspirational and magical. This can be achieved by focussing on the packaging; especially colours, patterns and copy and pricing. Brands should think carefully about discounting products too heavily, remembering that shoppers don’t forget and they must also be clever about the discounts they do offer, remembering that no-one likes to give or receive a present from the clearance section.

So with Christmas only weeks away take heed of these tips and you will reap the benefits; your product will be well on its way to ‘must-have’ status.

About the Author

Tony Nunan_MD of Visuality_300

Tony Nunan is Managing Director at Visuality Group