New Zealanders can trace their living and buying habits, it seems, by the calendar. In a recent article on Stuff, what we wear, how we exercise and the contents of our shopping trolleys went under the spotlight over the weekend in which the clocks went forward for daylight savings. And, apparently, regardless of the weather, the traditional start of summer heralds a complete change of diet for us all.
Countdown’s sales figures for the past two years showed roast meats, soups, root vegetables dropped by 30% in October as shoppers turned instead to entertaining, barbecue and picnic foods.With salads, sausages, burger patties, pre-packed cheese boards as well as beer and cider were all up around 15%. Jason McQuoid, the store manager at Countdown Ponsonby in Auckland, said if the weather is fine on Sunday they will see a marked change in what people buy. “If we have a really beautiful day on Sunday we can guarantee we’ll see a lift in salads and barbecue meats because people will get the barbecue out Sunday, they will enjoy their first late night,” he said.
At Mills, this change of season sparks a busy time as retailers across the board prepare for the hectic run-up to Christmas while food retailers also have to contend with this change in buying habits. Managing director Rosemary Fowler says the key areas for many food and produce retailers to watch out for are:
- New, seasonal and attractive products in produce areas and serve-over deli counters.
- Think about a change in the way you display produce to highlight to customers this change in the way they are thinking and “spark interest”.
- Displays that push shoppers into thinking about barbecues and entertaining – for example, information about recipes or wine, cider and beer matches to different foods.
- Having enough shopping baskets. Customers are more likely at this time of the year to pop in on the way back from work, or on the way to family and friends to pick up a small number of items to eat that day. This “bits and pieces” shopping is very much a summer phenomenon and can easily leave stores feeling light on basics such as baskets.
And as the days count down to Christmas, stores need to be certain they’re prepared for their own “silly seasons” when they can expect higher numbers of customers and in-stock items and need to be able to cash in on all the extra sales. Mills Display is open throughout the festive season – apart from the stat holidays – for any stores who need last-minute display products but, ideally, businesses need to be preparing now so they’re not introducing new products or reorganising displays during the Christmas rush.
So here’s out Christmas checklist to make sure you’ve got all your business’s display bases covered:
- Storage. With all that extra stock you’ll need a well organised way to keep it safe and secure as well as ensuring your staff aren’t exposed to any hazards from over-stocked storerooms.
- Customised Display Products. Remember this is our busiest time of the year too and although we work hard to keep our turnaround times really fast, you still need to be prepared to give yourself enough time to order and for us to manufacture and deliver your products well in time for the rush.
- Seasonal Displays. As soon as Halloween is out of the way, all that Christmas marketing soon takes its place. Don’t leave planning for one-off seasonal displays until the last minute – whether it’s to showcase a specific item, to attract people through your front door or it’s themed posters and wall hangers, being well coordinated means having this set up and good to go well before the start of December.
- Information. Your shoppers are often keen to think of new ways to use new ingredients at this time of the year – or are maybe looking for something a bit different as a present or talking point at home. Either way, stores really need to be able to deliver information about products fast and effectively – and this can mean investing in good ticketing, pricing, posters and signs.
The key to successful summer and Christmas trading in New Zealand is being prepared for the rush that leads up to the holiday season and then finding the right strategy to attract customers through the early months of next year. At Mills Display we have years of experience working alongside Kiwi businesses and understand what it takes to cash in on the festive period.
If you are keen to create the right custom solution, you’re interested in our off-the-shelf display products or if you simply want to talk through options with our friendly and knowledgeable staff, you can get more information by downloading a catalogue, emailing us or by talk to one of our salespeople on Live Chat.