Brands and retailers.

Huge advertising campaigns and Christmas catalogues are key investments for manufacturers and retailers during the festive season in a bid to entice sales, but according to Crossmark client services director, Anthony Di Francesco, there are simple yet strategic tactics that should not be overlooked in the lead up to Christmas.


The key to capturing in-store sales often comes down to customer experience, and for big box retailers such as Big W, Kmart and Target it can be as simple as merchandising.

Brands need to ask themselves how well their product is being represented in-store: ‘Is it on shelf or sitting out the back in the warehouse?  How easy is it to find my product in-store? Is the product in the right position? Is it clearly priced?  Are there going to be any problems paying for it?’

Merchandising can give products the best chance to be shopped and remove all the simple barriers that may cost sure sales, particularly gift purchases where brand and product switching is more prevalent.

Shopping displays

To capitalise on increased footfall and other seasonal promotions during this peak period, brands should look outside their category at displays that complement their own product lines.

“A few years ago we had a client who published recipe books, so we made sure their products were displayed near a big promotion for smoothie makers and blenders. It’s a modern take on the classic batteries display next to the electronics,” Di Francesco said.

Phantom stock

Phantom stock refers to items that go missing and aren’t accounted for on the automated inventory systems. One of the key contributors to this is the rise of self-serve checkouts.

If customers are scanning in the incorrect colour of their headphones, for example – whether intentionally or not – then the system isn’t going to accurately maintain stock levels through the season.

Imagine best-selling SKUs having phantom stock, and not triggering the minimum stock level to place an automatic re-order and flatline sales in that store until it’s fixed. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to do a proper stock take just before the festive season begins and ensure field staff are regularly checking shelves throughout the entire peak trading period.

If budgets don’t allow checking the entire product range, focus can be applied to top SKUs within top stores to ensure the best value.