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Unwrapping Success in the Retail Industry

Siobhan Bermingham
Negotiation Xmas Blog 2023
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Tis’ the season for festivities, gifts and rampant retail sales. As the Christmas season is upon us, now is the time for the retail industry to transform products into bundles of Christmas joy. The skilful negotiators know this is a time of great success or great loss. Coordinating the supply, demands and sale of the ‘must have’ items presents opportunities like no other season. Being able to understand the wants and needs of customers and negotiate lucrative deals with suppliers that prioritise those must-have items is key.

Retailers who want to sleigh this season, not only focus on discounts but instead, create magical experiences in their stores, reward customers for their loyalty (further developing their relationships) and create product bundles full of joy to set themselves apart from competitors. Negotiating this season of opportunity is far beyond pricing. Instead, it is important to understand what your customers value most and finding ways to deliver these at as low cost as possible. Magical Santa corners, elves, reindeer and decorations that make children squeal, all contribute to parents’ favouring one store to another. Delivering dream items in a desirable way that is low cost to retailers, can make a huge difference to sales and customer satisfaction. Displays that encapsulate the wonder of Christmas adorned with those must-get gadgets and beautiful clothing - the packaging and presentation of products are of greater importance now than any other time of year.

Customer service becomes far more crucial – discussing a customer’s needs, priorities and those dream bonus/wish list items is key to helping sales teams bundle together packages as well as Santa and his elves. Understanding those wish list items and having package deals available can grow one-off transactions into a sleigh full of purchases. If you want to negotiate greater profits, think of package deals rather than drastic discounts. Above all, keeping ahead of stock demands and building strong relationships with suppliers to assist in obtaining that unexpectedly popular, sometimes obscure toy favourite of that season, can ensure no child fears they’ve been added to the naughty list this Christmas – and potentially a life-long loyalty from a desperate present hunting parent.

The twelve days of Christmas in the retail industry are a symphony of strategic implementation. Much like the classic song is filled with gifts of increasing volume, customers frantically shop with ever-increasing lists of food, decorations, presents, games to play and various other household needs that Christmas demands keep adding. Much like an orchestra, the Christmas retail period must be played with precision - adjusting accordingly to volume demands whilst negotiating skilfully with suppliers to be able to offer customers discounts but maintain retailers’ profit margins and the ever-flowing supply of stock. A harmonious balance that must be led with maestro precision. The ominous fear of a bum note this season, echoing into 2024 is a price too high to pay for poor preparation.

As we wrap up another year, successful retailers understand that maximising this season of opportunity requires negotiating skilfully with suppliers, finding ways to bring greater value to their customers and delivering the feeling of Christmas magic, enabling retailers to unwrap maximum potential from the Christmas season.

Siobhan Bermingham
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