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Retailers: Make shoppers' last-minute buying habits work for you

With less than eight shopping days left until Christmas, two out of three Canadians admit they still need to complete their holiday gift buying.

Canadians polled in recent survey have spent an average of $433 for gifts this holiday season. What really will grab the attention of retailers is that this amount is less than 70% of the money shoppers plan to spend this holiday season.

For savvy retailers the research means significant revenue opportunities for those willing to reach out and help frantic shoppers make their last-minute gift choices.

Even better news for retailers: almost one in four Canadian shoppers polled admit they will likely exceed their budget once the last gift item on their list is checked off.

The Harris/Decima research findings were gathered from over 1,000 Canadians and have a 3% error rate, 19 times out of 20.

Highlights of the research include:

  • Atlantic Canada shoppers plan to be the most generous this season; their average shopping budget is $996 per shopper, with 40% of shoppers polled predicting they will likely exceed their budget.
  • Shoppers in Western Canada, particularly British Columbia, planned more modest holiday spending: budgeting $503 per shopper in a mid-November poll. A follow-up poll in mid-December, however, indicates this group of Canadians were already spending beyond their planned holiday gift budget.
  • Ontario shoppers indicated they planned to budget $664 for gifts, according to those polled in mid-November. The mid-December follow-up poll indicated these shoppers had spent only $409 less than two-thirds of their planned gift spending.

The research findings should have retailers rejoicing: holiday shoppers typically have more than 30% of their gift dollars to spend.

To help retailers make the most of the holiday season, here are some timely tips to pull in last-minute shoppers:

Use displays not discounts to attract shoppers.

With shopping time ticking down to the last hours keep your displays inviting. Rotate merchandise to keep a fresh look. Make sure all items have price tags.

Pair items for "Suggestion Selling"

Help your staff with suggestion selling. Pair gift items that naturally go together. Combine bubble bath with bathrobes; mugs with coffee-makers; and gloves with scarves and hats.

Let customers think they are getting a bargain

Offer free gift wrapping to frazzled shoppers. Include gift tags they fill out in the store. It keeps shoppers in your store longer and gives the perception they are getting more value for their shopping dollars.

Use social media to your advantage

Send out holiday greeting cards to your email list and include shopping offers and specials. Keep up with your Facebook news about the Holidays.

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