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Dec 19, 2018

Brands giving myrrh at Christmas

by Helen Tarver - Account Director

Brands giving myrrh at Christmas

It’s no secret that online sales have been impacting the world of retail for several years.

The office of national statistics last year reported a 9.4% increase in online retailing over Christmas 2017 vs. the same period in the previous year. Although this is an issue that affects the industry across the year, given the anticipated uplift Christmas promises, it is particularly important for retailers to pull shoppers into store across November and December.

Retailer initiatives to combat this online threat can add real value for shoppers and free gifts with purchase are an obvious starting point. This appears to have been favoured in particular in the alcohol category this year with free socks on shelf in both John Smith and Kronenbourg four packs. Maybe not the most original of Christmas gifts, but the conveniently packaged packs achieved off-shelf space and the added value gift is likely to tip the balance for shoppers scanning the fixture.

Jack Daniels ran a similar activity around free ice moulds across two SKUs in ASDA. The practically empty fixture showed that the activity had seen success although unfortunately an apparent imbalance in the free gift to product stock ratio left a large number of gifts on shelf.

An increasingly popular approach in recent years has been to seduce shoppers with value-added, in-store experiences. Personalised Nutella jars was one of the first of these when it made its debut back in 2014 as an in-store store exclusive to Selfridges. Even this moved online in subsequent years but 2018 sees the initiative return in store to Debenhams where the activity has been hosted in 60 branches.

This success has been replicated by other confectionery giants with brands such as Toblerone being the latest to offer personalisation of their packs online and in selected multiples such as Sainsbury’s. It is a simple yet effective way to get the brands into Christmas stockings but it does require investment in printing equipment making in-store activations more challenging.

One brand that has really upped the ante on the investment front this year is Quality Street taking in-store gift tin personalisation to a new level with the option to customise contents via pick and mix stations. Lucky shoppers at 11 John Lewis can make up a tin of their favourite Quality Street using a minimum of three varieties meaning Boxing Day squabbles between the last coffee and orange cream can be a thing of the past!

The cost of a tin also includes a bespoke print on the tin lid at the flagship Oxford Street store and this on-site print appears to have been very successful judging by the length of the queues in December. The installation of large magnetic sweets at the experience is designed to entertain queue dwellers by providing the perfect social media snap backdrop while you wait.

It would seem that John Lewis has taken the crown of adding value to the in-store experience this year with a second brand pop up also currently live in store. The Fever-Tree pop-up store allows shoppers to try different gin and tonic pairings from their range before making a bespoke box of gin and tonic crackers to take home and adorn your Christmas tree or table settings with.

These are definitely a step up from your standard cracker with the gift of a good G&T likely to prove much more welcome than a mini bottle opener at your Christmas table. However, if any of your guests feel short changed to have lost out on a joke and a paper hat, here’s a free festive gag courtesy of Toucan:

Q: What do you get if you cross Santa with a duck?

A: A Christmas Quacker!

Merry Christmas one and all!

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