Retailers, are you ready to sparkle during the last-minute Christmas rush?

There’s nothing quite like the buzz of stores teeming with shoppers in the days before Christmas. Merrily ringing tills delight retailers, but is enough being done to truly sparkle at peak?

Peak trading is vital for many retail sectors. The British Retail Consortium reports that 34% of toy sales in the UK take place in the Christmas shopping period, and 45% of total greetings card sales are Christmas-related. ShopperTrak’s retail traffic data reveals there are standout peak days that see the greatest surges in physical shopping activity country-by-country. Much last-minute gift-buying takes place in the week before Christmas Day, and physical stores are considered the safest bet for securing important purchases for loved ones. How can retailers across all sectors maintain standards, and make the best of this last-minute festive shopping bonanza?

‘Panic Thursday’ and ‘Frenzied Friday’  

We predict that ‘Panic Thursday’ on December 21st will be extremely busy both in stores and shopping centres in the UK with a +60% increase in footfall on the daily average. There will also be a surge in shopper traffic on ‘Frenzied Friday’ (December 22nd), up +37% on the average Friday. Super Saturday on 23rd December will see a massive +63% rise when compared to an average Saturday.

In Italy, Sunday 17th December will be heaving in stores, with a predicted rise of +22% on an average Sunday. While in Germany, Super Saturday will see traffic up +25% versus an average Saturday. That’s a lot of extra people ready to spend, so stores need to be primed for action, or the ultimate golden opportunity will be missed.

Don’t drop the ball when stores get busy

Delivering a top-notch experience is vitally important, starting with plenty of staff, efficient check-out and click-and-collect services, and stores arranged for easy flow of the crowds. Retailers are increasingly using insights from traffic data to make sure they can offer a high level of service, particularly at peak.

Retailers can maximize customer visits by offering different services such as gift wrapping. Even a gesture as small as giving customers a few sweets or a drink in-store can differentiate the in-store experience from online shopping and encourage return visits. Plenty of stock and highly visible displays of best-selling gifts will also keep stressed shoppers happy.

If retailers meet customer needs and manage to add a dash of sparkling service at Christmas, everyone’s a winner.

Find out more about European festive retail traffic trends in Preparing for Peak, ShopperTrak’s peak trading mini guide.

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