The Solopress 12 guides of Christmas – No.2: Preparing with print

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12 Guides of Christmas No.2: Preparing with print

With 2019 set to be one of the most challenging Christmases for business in recent years, print represents an economical way to splash the seasonal spirit throughout your estate. While you might not be able to stretch to that fibre-glass Santa-sleigh this year, a poster, sign or banner can let you tell your Christmas story for a fraction of the investment.

For your customers and clients, you’ll need to change up your display materials to reflect the season. You’ll advertise gifting opportunities and shout about deals. The people you speak to at Christmas change too. They’re often different from your regular audience so you’ll need to offer assistance and navigation through your display materials.

It’s not just external communications that need to adapt, either. Among your colleagues, you’ll need to spread motivation, instruction and information, ensuring everyone pulls together. Temporary seasonal staff may require even closer guidance.

Print can play a major role in solving many of these challenges for you. With 20 years of experience in the industry, we’re in a great place to help out. Here are 14 tips to help you get the most out of printed materials this Christmas and beyond.

1. Get festive

69% look forward to Christmas displays*
69% look forward to Christmas displays*

69% of the people that we surveyed said that they look forward to seeing Christmas displays in shops and businesses, and we can’t let those people down! If you’re a business that welcomes clients and customers onsite, printed materials are a cost-effective way to bring Christmas to your business spaces

It also achieves two objectives in one stroke. Printed POS allows you to dress your space from front to back in your Christmas theme and communicate commercial messages at the same time. Posters, signage, flags, banners, table talkers, swing tags and more all play their role. Christmas POS is at its most effective when it features a seasonal livery that’s consistent, not just across all printed materials, but across all of your Christmas marketing: above and below the line; offline and digital.

2. Directional signage for gifters

Remember, it might not be your usual audience that comes flocking in. It might be their Aunts or Grandsons looking for gifts and browsing products that are unfamiliar to them. Make sure they can navigate your space and locate their purchases with ease. Considering extra navigational printed signage in-store – in your festive Christmas livery of course!

3. Promote an event with print

57% attended a promotional Christmas event
57% attended a promotional Christmas event*

Holding some sort of Christmas event is a great way to increase footfall. After all, 57% of people that answered our survey said they had attended a promotional Christmas event held by a business.

We’ll be going into great detail about holding an event later on in our “12 Guides of Christmas” – sufficed to say, print can play a pivotal role in, letting people know about your event, enhancing the space while the event is going on, and capitalising on the footfall it creates.

4. Keep print consistent with other channels

Print collateral that matches the visual language you use online. That way your customers know they’re in the right place. They might visit your website on their desktop before venturing out, or they may be browsing their phones while they’re on their way. What’s important is to remember that the customer needs to experience a joined-up journey from the online world right up to your doorstep. Printed displays like window posters and signage that mirror the branding you use online result in consistency and recognition that aid conversion.

Consistency and recognition are particularly important if you’re using the latest footfall driving strategy – digital proximity marketing. Technologies like iBeacon or Smart Antenna broadcast your message to nearby mobile devices to entice passers-by. This will only work effectively if what they are seeing on-screen matches what you are displaying in real life. This is where digital marketing hands the baton to posters and signage to get customers over the line and through your doors.

5. Print a gift guide

67% felt a Christmas gift guide helped them
67% felt a Christmas gift guide helped them*

According to our survey, 67% of shoppers found that a Christmas gift guide or booklet helped them discover gift ideas. That’s a stat worth pondering. Imagine 2 out of every 3 shoppers not knowing what to buy, picking up a guide that you have printed and making a purchase on the strength of what they’ve read. That’s a powerful marketing tool right there.

You could even sell ad space in the guide to your suppliers, should your business model permit. That way, your gift guide might pay for itself even before a single transaction is made. It’s also a great place to include vouchers or discount codes to further incentivise customers.

What’s more, distributing this via traditional mail is a guaranteed way to increase your impact. According to the Royal Mail more than 92% of direct mail is opened and 48% of UK adults took action after receiving direct mail last year. Catalogues and sale booklets being one of the highest converting materials according to research carried out by Epsilon Abacus, which lead to a 22% uplift in customer retention.

6. Consider customised Christmas wrapping paper

45% felt free wrapping made them more likely to buy
45% felt free wrapping made them more likely to buy*

Through our Christmas survey, we discovered that 45% of shoppers felt that a free wrapping service would make them more likely to purchase from a retailer. That’s a healthy chunk of the market you could be attracting by adding this simple service. Subtly branded wrapping paper can help to spread your message but be careful not to give away what’s inside!

For non-retail businesses that might be distributing gifts to clients or colleagues at Christmas, brand gift wrap will help underline your corporate identity and associate it with generosity and good times!

7. Push printed vouchers, discount cards, loyalty cards

Many businesses that experience a lift over Christmas also experience a lull in the following weeks or months. Help to keep interest going and boost sales into the new year by offering incentives. Throughout December, for example, you might offer a voucher or booklet of coupons with every transaction over £10 that entitles the customer to a discount on purchases between new year and Easter.

Retailers might also think about using the increased footfall over Christmas to increase sign-ups to a loyalty scheme. Be wary not to let the sign-up process cause hold-ups at the till during busy trading hours, though. A form that the customer can fill out, or a flyer that directs them to take their application online, will avoid clogging up the counter.

8. Don’t forget the non-sales signage

It’s not just seasonal messages and product offers that need to be communicated. Will you be altering your opening hours? Will you operate an adapted returns policy for gifts?

Post-Christmas product returns are a big deal. According to The Independent, a staggering three-quarters of women’s clothing gifts are returned after Christmas. Many retail businesses operate an amended policy over Christmas and into the new year, both to assist genuine customers and to deter fraudsters. Clear, unambiguous communication of that policy is essential to avoiding any fractious misunderstandings at the counter! An instore display outlining your policy in detail is a handy reference for staff and customers.
 

9. Create bespoke Christmas Cards

If your business is not one that welcomes the public onsite, why not reach out to them via post? A Christmas card is just about the most traditional kind of mailer you could imagine. Harder to bin that your average direct mail, it’s personal and well-meant, but it’s also a gentle reminder of your business and expresses gratitude for their custom.

72% appreciated a thank you even without a discount or a gift
72% appreciated a thank you even without a discount or a gift*

Don’t forget that more than 92% of traditional mail is opened, so your customers are more likely to open a physical card than a thank you email!

72% of people that we surveyed felt that a message of gratitude from a business is still meaningful whether or not it is accompanied by a discount or a gift, so you don’t always need to bust the bank with giveaways. Sometimes it truly is the thought that counts.


10. Christmas stuffing!

Leaflet stuffing that is. If you’re sending packages out to your audience, there’s always the opportunity to slip in some printed material that will carry your message along with their order. As a distance seller, you need to make the most of your touchpoints with your customers. Including a flyer or a brochure in with the delivery will keep you in mind, communicate any new offers they may not have yet seen and potentially bag your further sales.

11. Produce branded promotional products as Christmas gifts

It’s the season of gift-giving, and by using promotional items, the presents you distribute to clients can do a sterling job for you in terms of brand awareness.

A desk calendar will claim valuable real estate on your clients work surface, keeping your brand in their line of site for a whole 12 months.

If you’re a B2B company, how about putting together a Christmas survival pack for the individuals at your client businesses? It could be packed full of branded items that are will be genuinely appreciated by your clients through Christmas trading and beyond – while reminding them that your business has their back.

Your survival pack could include:

  • a travel mug to keep them caffeinated and motivated, maybe add some sachets.
  • a placemat, so they have somewhere to put it!
  • a packet of personalised sweets or chocolate to maintain blood sugar and provide a treat
  • a pen. Yes it’s obvious, but everyone needs them
  • a set of earphones featuring your branding so they can get their buds in, heads down and work done!

12. Use print for internal communication

Have a plan for Christmas trading and make sure everyone knows it. Internal communication is key – and you can’t make sure everyone’s on the same page if you haven’t printed the page in the first place? A physical document outlining plans and priorities will cement your strategy and unite your efforts.

If you’re a business that takes on seasonal staff, you might benefit from printing a welcome pack and staff handbook. A presentation folder makes for a professional looking welcome pack for new starters and has the capacity to hold offer letters or contracts in a pocket.

A staff handbook might take the form of a stapled brochure, outlining agreed actions, company policies, housekeeping info and essential health and safety advice.

Producing copies of a bound Christmas operations manual may make for a handy reference for managers and teamleaders when Christmas trading calls for new routines.

Posters in staff only areas will help to remind colleagues of service & hygiene standards and other business critical messages.

13. Create signage to keep storage chaos at bay

If you’re a business that sells through stock and you experience an uplift around Christmas, you need to get stock levels right. Fast turn over and the need for speedy replenishment can lead to storage issues for a lot of businesses. For industries preparing for Brexit, this issue could be magnified.

Stockpiling requires space and planning beyond what we may be used to, so it’s key to stay organised. Back of house signage or posters that clarifies stock room layouts or warehouse management will help to avoid back stock areas from descending into chaos.

14. Change things up after Christmas

If you’ve replaced non-Christmas display materials for the Christmas version, do you really want to go back to the same tired old POS once it’s all over? The new year can be a chance to refresh and revitalise your display materials instead of reverting to the same old branding. Embrace this opportunity to invest in some new print to keep your brand moving forward.

Stay tuned for future “12 Guides of Christmas” posts stuffed with tips, stats and info on upselling, hosting events, holding competitions and much more – all to come at solopress.com/blog!

 

*All numerical data shown in our percentage wheels was gathered as part of the Solopress 2019 Christmas Survey. All statistics shown are based on the responses of 100% of the 1204 respondents. Data gathered through the survey remains the property of AGA Printing Ltd trading as Solopress Ltd and may not be reproduced without acknowledgement via back link. All copyright and other intellectual property rights are reserved.

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