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Dec 22, 2016

Shopping; in-store versus online at Christmas

Christmas brings out the generous spirit in most of us, but what tactics are retailers coming up with to get us to spend that bit more? Account Director, Chloe Keith, delves deeper this week…
Looking into what online retailers are using on their mobile sites to pressure shoppers into spending, revealed the following tactics:

Exclusive offers and discounts

  • Free delivery
  • Prominent delivery information
  • Gift guides
  • Countdown graphics
  • Highlighting the limited number of stock
  • How many other people are looking at the item
  • Quick check out
  • Gift wrapping services
  • Personalisation

But what about Christmas shopping in a shopping centre or on the high street?

Ask people to describe Christmas shopping in 3 words, and ‘stressful’ will feature. Retailers have a lot of obstacles to overcome to persuade shoppers to buy their Christmas gifts in their stores, especially with the ease and convenience of online shopping. Because we’re able to shop online, stores are doing everything they can to get us through the doors, and part of that is creating entertaining added extras.

shop 3

Some of the strategies include…

  • Creating the fear of missing out (FOMO) – if I don’t buy this now, will it be here tomorrow?
  • Create a Christmas mood in the shop to make people happy – happy shoppers enjoy the experience, resulting in increased dwell times and additional sales.
  • Extended opening hours – it’s a more pleasant experience shopping late on a Thursday night, compared to a Saturday afternoon.
  • Make the environment warm and inviting – Christmas is all about being cosy and checking out who has the best Christmas displays!
  • The layout of the store – retailers will place special offers towards the front doors, to coax us into making that first step. The staples, like wrapping paper, sellotape, milk and bread are usually at the back of the store, forcing customers to pass other tempting goods. Then the luxuries, such as champagne and mince pies, are saved for the end, by the till points.

All of the above, plus music, pricing and displays can all make a difference and have been strategically planned. Every detail of our surroundings gets us spending. Did you know that at Harrods, shoppers are encouraged to get into the spending mood with the help of an in-store fragrance called Christmas Spirit, which combines vanilla and cinnamon? The aim of pumping Christmas Spirit throughout the store is to trigger fond thoughts of Christmas moment and memories.

In 2015, UK retailers took £24 billion in sales over the Christmas period, nearly half of which were completed on a mobile device. The competition is on, as more customers will fall victim to these online and in-store tactics as they begin their Christmas shopping.

shop 2


Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but for retailers it’s also the most competitive!

If you need innovative ideas and events that are inspired by the key trading dates throughout the year, Toolbox Group can help; giving you the most fun and thoughtful ideas for your shopping centres. Contact Chloe Keith at Toolbox Group to have a chat –

May we take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year!