The Christmas customer Journey
I have fond childhood memories of making the annual trip to London with my family to see the beautiful lights and stunning Christmas windows. The themes and story telling during the festive period are always a visual treat and social media is awash with each campaign and reveal come November, much earlier for some!
Everyday we work with our clients to create, manage and support their Visual Merchandising strategies from the conception of a design or idea, through to implementation and ongoing review and development. An effective visual strategy is vital to portray a clear message to the customer and to ultimately drive commercial success as part of the ‘Customer Journey’
With this in mind we went beyond the window and took a more detailed look at some well known retailers to see how their Christmas campaigns are designed and communicated in store to deliver customers the clear, consistent and ‘joined up’ experience that every brand is so aware they must strive to achieve.
Below we have shared some of our favourites from different retail sectors and what they did well!
T H E I C O N I C D E P A R T M E N T S T O R E
Online the Selfridges Rock’s Christmas campaign is communicated in a clever, fun and playful way. Regular e news and offers, brands in store that are hosting events and the website link through to ‘discover Christmas’ with all the information and inspiration you could want. The rock star theme is carried through everywhere with eye catching gifting ideas that are categorised and info about in store events, personal shopping with the ‘Elfridges’ and the gift wrapping/delivery and returns service.
Iconic as always the theme, storytelling and execution of the Selfridge’s windows is a masterclass. Each Santa is influenced by famous ‘rock’ icons such as David Bowie, Prince and Freddie Mercury. Dressing room sets full of gift ideas and stage props such as speakers, lights and trusses transport you to the world of Glam rock and take you on a journey from backstage to the concert and then the after party!
Selfridges Rocks Christmas is apparent everywhere from the moment you arrive at the door until you reach the Christmas shop on the 4th floor.
Large glitter balls hanging from a steel truss move up and down the central escalator and there are feature focal points on the escalator balconies with messages such as ‘Amp up your celebrations’ and ‘We know you’re wild at heart’ one with a DJ set within the space for events happening in store.
The famous rocking Santas are situated at focal points throughout the store and offer the perfect selfie and instagrammable moment. Product and mannequin launch zones also feature on each floor with digital screens at the escalator joining points reminding you of the Christmas store on the 4th floor and events that are happening during the festive period.
The Christmas shop has it all with many of the festive services situated here. The Christmas wrapping and collection desk is on your left as you enter with lots of beautiful personalisation opportunities throughout the space along with great gifting ideas. Staff were very visible in their black T shirts and were on hand to help you choose, navigate and demonstrate throughout the 4th floor. Beautifully produced Christmas cards were given out over the Black Friday weekend in line with the discounting during this period however, the message was ‘Christmas comes early’ staying with the theme for a consistent message.
Christmas at Selfridges definitely rocks from the sound check to the after party. Its a headline act!
T H E F A S T F A S H I O N V A L U E R E T A I L E R
‘Everyone’s invited’ to Christmas at Primark with a campaign that celebrates diversity and inclusion, whether you want to be glam or cozy, go out or stay in. The strong and prominent images of smiling singles, couples and families deliver this well. The Disney, Harry Potter and Fortnite ranges are all featured along with gifting ideas, PJ sets and festive homeware.
Well lit windows with large graphics matching the website dominate with simple shelving to display products alongside mannequins. The strong imagery takes centre stage and a good range of the Christmas products are on display. A dedicated Christmas themed Harry Potter window in Oxford Street and Fortnite windows in the Regent Street store sit alongside the Everyone’s Invited theme.
A large prominent Christmas clothing shop at the entrance on the ground floor, as you enter, instantly draws you to the space with clothing, lounge wear, cozy PJ sets and jumpers. Christmas accessories and gift cards are situated within the area. Christmas gifts and decorations are in the second Christmas shop at the top of the escalator on the first floor. Both prominently placed. Movable fixtures in the Christmas areas have themed graphics.
Whilst Primark obviously doesn’t offer a wrapping service, everything you need to wrap presents is in the Christmas shop, bags, bows, money wallets etc. There were lots of staff on the shop floor and several were refreshing the Christmas merchandising and moving fixtures. Three large checkout areas are situated next to the Christmas shops on the ground and home floors with another next to the Home section on the first floor. Despite a queue, the wait is not long with a dozen or more tills open at the ground floor checkout location.
The message, the sentiment, the imagery are powerful and poignant.
T H E H O M E W A R E S T O R E
‘Presents for Particular People’ is the theme for Heals Christmas, suggesting you will find a gift for anyone however tricky they are to buy for. The classic banner on their home page with gifts for him and her/homeware, decorations and dining categorised. The Christmas market is promoted on the website and there is a blog celebrating its third year.
Classic and elegant with a long Christmas dining table set and Christmas trees with presents and gift bags add height. An A frame as you enter promotes ‘Heals Christmas Party’ an in store event on the 6th December with complimentary mulled wine and mince pies to browse the store. The side window promotes the Christmas market via a large graphic.
You enter the Christmas market area as you step into the store laden with gifts, decorations and indulgent food products. Furniture marked with ‘In your home in time for Christmas’ identifies and promotes items on the shop floor. Launch zones with Christmas trees and Heals gift bags are situated throughout and seating areas with light boxes on coffee tables promote Christmas consistently around the store.
Staff greet you in the market area as you arrive in store and there is a concierge area immediately to the right. A dedicated gift wrapping desk is situated on the ground floor. Christmas for 30% off ‘Host Christmas with Heals’ displayed throughout with Christmas chocolates and gift suggestions and vouchers Staff at customer service desks throughout the store to help and assist. A separate Trade sales office is situated on the first floor with its own team. Concierge service located next to the Christmas market and entrance on ground floor. Dedicated Christmas market staff in this area.
THE CHRISTMAS MARKET
Good layout and merchandising with a great range of quirky gift ideas as the theme suggests.
T H E C O S M E T I C B R A N D
Christmas features everywhere on the Lush website with every brand category and message tailored to the festive season. Eye catching and informative with Christmas dates listed for deliveries, festive community events and all the exclusive Christmas products that are available. There is even a page of Secret Santa gift ideas in a range of price brackets to inspire you! It throws colour and fun in your face and despite the amount of content and products everything is there and navigation is easy.
The open store front with large high stacked colourful Christmas displays in the entrance invites you in and creates a visible buzz with a huge Belfast sink for bath bomb demos that you have to stop at. The upper floor to ceiling window houses a striking rose gold dressing room style make up stand to promote the new range that has just landed and is visible from the street.
Lush is a sensory overload, too much for some! But the store is exciting and fun with a laid back feel. Christmas displays with wooden crates and sacks stacked full of products is an indulgent feast for the eyes with the classic belfast sinks on each floor for experimenting with products and their famous bath bombs. There is a large range of exclusive christmas products available and lots of options for gift wrapping depending on your budget and preference. The Lush experience is everywhere with complimentary hand massages, make up consultations, demonstrations and personal tours of the new treatment rooms happening all over the store.
Staff were very friendly and informative. Product knowledge is excellent and the tone of voice and conversation was informative. Staff passionately embrace the brand, are informed and confident and this comes across consistently. You are encouraged to interact with and test the products and asked questions about who and what you are looking for.
A sensory playground with fun staff that are friendly, passionate and knowledgeable about the brand & products and convey it well.
HIGHLIGHT - S E R V I C E
T H E F O O T W E A R S P E C I A L I S T
The Clarks ‘Give Love’ Gifts for everyone certainly has the right sentiment . Bold silver letters on a white background with a red glittered border stand out. Navigating through the pages, this theme continues with The Perfect Gift for Her/Him on the women’s and men’s pages and a separate gifting page with suggestions from all the ranges and accessories.
Eye catching windows with bold letters that link to the on-line campaign in exactly the same way and have the same look and feel stand out. GIVE LOVE is shown on both a white and red background in different store windows and the red and white theme stands out as traditional Christmas colours. From us, for you, for them re-enforces the gifting message
The Give Love theme is carried through in store with graphics on the footwear walls. A4 freestanding signs are placed on the floor fixtures and gift tags attached to individual shoes and accessories with ‘The Perfect Gifts’ draw your attention to items throughout the store.
Staff were proactive and approached twice to offer help or gift ideas and to inform about the discount on certain products in store that day and how they were identified.
The white and red ‘Give Love’ theme is subtly but clearly used in store to promote Christmas allowing the shoes and accessories to stand out.
T H E G L O B A L F A S H I O N R E T A I L E R
Christmas is presented online at H&M through various themed photo shoots that reflect the brand’s six film mini series shot in the fictional Hotel Mauritz which are being launched weekly in the run up to Christmas as the main campaign - ‘Join the Party’ and ‘Strike a Pose’ are two episodes and sit alongside categories ‘RSVP to the Party’ ‘Dazzle this season’ and ‘New Year Cheer’ on the website ’featuring models and themes from the the short films to promote the season’s collections. The party shop has gift suggestions from Christmas jumpers, to stocking fillers and the gift card is also featured on the home page with a link detailing delivery times and the E Card option as a gift suggestion.
Pink and red large wrapped props provide the backdrop for the windows. The colour scheme is reflected in the online campaigns with stacks of pink presents and red featured in the videos and photo shoots. Scrolling messages such as such as ‘This is for you - But I might borrow it!’ and ‘surprise!’ are displayed in the window on an LED ticker tape in the shape of a gift tag. The Christmas campaign has a window to itself showing snippets of the six episodes from the St Mauritz fims alongside a dedicated window for the H&M app promoting the latest feature ‘Visual Search’.
Christmas was visible in store with Christmas fixtures in the area near the entrance dedicated to jumpers, accessories and jewellery. Christmas product and party wear was merchandised within the collections and genders from there on in. Despite the modern campaign, the products on display were often quite traditional but the campaign theme was carried through on screens behind the cash desks and with snow scenes depicting the opening scene to the St Mauritz hotel on the Christmas specific fixtures. Festive homeware displays were situated next to the click and collect on the 4th floor with a Christmas dining table set for dinner. Navigation to the click and collect was marked on the floor in addition to the usual signage. The app worked in store to scan items to check availability and also to suggest H&M alternatives to my current outfit via the visual search feature. In store tablets with a customer satisfaction survey to complete within 30 seconds were located on each floor at either end of the store however one wasn’t working!
Click and collect on the 4th floor was available in the flagship store. Staff were busy but friendly and polite. A Take Care destination was also in store and cash desks were open on all floors.
The design and colour scheme stands out and is fresh, modern and a break from the traditional Christmas window.