5 Ways to Prepare for the Holiday Shopping Season

For many retailers, 40 percent of their annual sales occur in the last two months of the year (source: Experian). Even if the middle of the year is your busiest time, there’s no doubt your divers are looking to spend money leading up to the holidays.

The average consumer plans to spend at least $800 on gifts this year. What is your strategy to capture those holiday dollars?

Below are five top tips for holiday season success in 2015.

#5. Stock Specialty Items

Have you passed by a shop window and seen something unique that caused you to detour into the shop? The right “gateway item” can easy lead to a big purchase.

By promoting fun, ocean-themed items online and in your store, you’ll give customers one more reason to start their holiday shopping with your business. Below are a few ideas.

Color-changing shark mug

heat sensitive color changing shark mug

Drinkwear from bread and badger

gifts for scuba divers and ocean lovers

Scuba or ocean-themed apparel appeals to divers and non-divers alike. PADI Gear offers shorts, hats and bags in addition to t-shirts, jackets and hoodies.

PADI Gear

Here are some other apparel ideas:

Shark / Jaws flip flops

shark Jaws flip flops sandals

Diving Helmet Cufflinks

scuba diver cufflinks

Shark Slippers

shark slippers

#4. Create Packages

Bundling products together into a single package allows you to simultaneously up-sell and prevent price comparison. For example:

Bundle an Equipment Specialist course with any gear purchase.

Students receive the added value of learning how to take care of their gear and earn a specialty cert towards their Master Scuba Diver rating.

Read course director Scuba Steve’s tips for teaching an equipment specialty course.

You could also include stickers customized with the student’s name.

dive gear name stickers

Create a dive gear travel package

In addition to your favorite lightweight dive gear, your package could include a luggage scale, accessories for a GoPro (such as a floating handle),  an octopus luggage tag, a dry bag (contact your PADI Sales Consultant to order), reef-friendly sunscreen, or other useful items.

#3 Make It Easy for Shoppers to Give and Receive

Have you ever been stumped on what gift to buy for someone? Or if someone asks what you’d like as a gift suddenly draw a blank?

Here are some ways to ensure your divers as well as their friends and family will never be at a loss for the perfect gift idea.

Give non-diving friends and family a cheat sheet (aka “gift guide”) which can do double-duty as a wishlist for current customers.

Make a cheat sheet aka “gift guide”
Your gift guide doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a list of gifts any diver would appreciate. Type up a list of items you keep in stock (or could quickly order) and link to it from your e-Newsletter and post to social media.

Consider grouping items by price:

Under $25
Under $50
Under $100
(etc)

Read more tips and tricks for creating an effective gift guide.

Once you’ve got that gift guide squared away, re-purpose it as a wishlist.

Customer Wishlists
Invite divers to print the gift guide, write their name at the top, and circle the items they’d like to receive. Keep the wishlists on file through the holidays and put them somewhere your staff can easily reference.

Can your shelf sell de-fog?
Of course your employees are great about explaining products, but what about your shelves? If there’s a rush and someone is left browsing on their own, that shopper may appreciate that you’ve put the defog next to the masks with a sign that says “don’t forget defog!”

go-pro-floating-handgripAlong the same lines: a new diver or non-diver may not be aware of all the accessories they need (light(s) / red filter, wrist strap, etc). A display of these items with a flyer or sign explaining what someone might need to get started with underwater photo or video will be appreciated by newbies.

Offer Electronic Gifts
Shoppers with a digital preference plan to spend $440 more than shoppers who aren’t in the market for digital goods. As a PADI Member you can sell an eLearning or Touch course by collecting the student’s information then waiting to transmit the code. Or, direct customers to buy a gift code from PADI’s website.

PADI give the gift of scuba diving
#2 Promote  Early and Often

Experian reports 49 percent of retailers will launch a holiday marketing campaign before Halloween.

Capture holiday dollars early by starting your online promotion as soon as you feel comfortable. Why online? Almost 92% of holiday shoppers plan to research online before making a purchase.

holiday shopping stats

Here’s another interesting stat: Social Media Today conducted a recent survey where 78% of respondents said a company’s social media posts influence their purchase decisions.

Put your products where the eyeballs are! Take a picture of your various packages and post a different one each week to your Facebook page. Include the images and ideas with your eNewsletter as well. This makes it easy for divers to share their gift preferences with friends and family.

holiday shopping stats
When asked, “What type of holiday content are you most likely to share?” in a recent survey, 67% percent said digital coupons and 63% percent said a link to a holiday contest or giveaway.

Share the Specifics of Your Savings
With that in mind, be sure to state loud and clear the dollar amount customers will save if they purchase your package. Even if you’re not offering a deep discount, call out the dollar value of your offer. Studies show that stating a specific amount is more appealing to consumers than a percent. In other words, “$100 savings” is more effective than “Save 15%”

Email deals
According to Shopify, email still out-performs Twitter and Facebook for sales performance. Make your message stand apart from the rest by using enticing subject lines such as:

  • We never do this…
  • An invitation to secret savings
  • Your $25 credit is about to expire

The secret savings can be as simple as asking customers to say a”magic word” that activates the deal and a deadline to take advantage of the special. For example, “Save $100 off any purchase of $600 or more when you use the code word: Rudolph on or before December 1st.”

The credit offer… the customer may not actually have any credit, but who wants to lose out on $25? Call it a customer loyalty credit in honor of the diver’s anniversary / birthday / just to help them out during the holidays. Customers often spend much more than $25.

#1 Give shoppers a reason to buy from you

sweaters

What do these distasteful Christmas sweaters have to do with scuba? The company that makes them, Tipsy Elves, donates a hoodie to a child in need for every ugly sweater purchased.

Offering a benefit, such as a charitable donation or other incentive, is a great way to get people to do business with you.

  • Offer an incentive for those who come into the store to drop off a donation such as canned food.
  • Invite divers to donate used wetsuits and dive gear for donation and receive $XYZ off a new item. Here are some organizations that utilize used wetsuits and gear
  • Donate a portion of sales to Project AWARE, or a local charity of your choice.

Ideas in Action!

Aquatic Dreams in California has a special photo event with Scuba Santa…

photo: Aquatic Dreams Modesto, CA

… Blue Horizons in Pennsylvania ran an offer last year for free delivery on purchases of $100 or more.

Blue Horizons Holiday Offer

Lastly, don’t be shy about asking for the sale. Remind people what you do to support the local community and eco-system. Invite them to contact you before purchasing a similar item online.

Include a photo of you and your staff to further drive home the message. By spending money at their local dive shop, shoppers support not only their local community, but also the people that change lives. Maui Dreams in Hawaii highlights the entire staff to further enhance and maintain the personal relationship they establish with their customers.

Maui Dreams

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