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December 2011 | Vol. X - No. 12
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7 Tips on Selling After Christmas

Turn Gift Returns Into Sales

The big day is over… so now what? You have one mission after the holidays: to minimize returns to grow sales. The final week of the month can be the frosting on the cake, if handled correctly. By proactively deciding to grow sales you will have a better mindset and your staff will keep from feeling overwhelmed. Below, see seven tips on growing your retail sales after Christmas:

1. Greet customers at the counter. Even if someone greeted them as they came in; even if you have signs everywhere saying 20% off and alerting them to other important deals. When customers arrive at your counter with their receipt and a return, greet them with something like, “Good morning. The whole store is 20% off, would you like to look around first?”

Even if they tell you they only want another size, still mention your sale. Look at this as an opportunity for them to get a second item; not to have your employee give them 20% off a return. You can tell the customer your sale “makes their gift go farther.”

2. Make sure every return is immediately tagged. You don’t want to lose sales because someone threw products into a big pile that needs to be dealt with at the end of the day. Price items and get them back on the sales floor quickly.

3. Make sure everyone knows how to do all types of returns, ring up sale items and closeouts, process layaways, checks, etc -employees and customers don’t want to wait for a manager. Patience is gone this time of year for everyone.

4. Be flexible. Don’t get into it with someone doing a return against your policy. It isn’t worth the aggravation – give them a refund if there is any way possible. Remember our goal is to BUILD sales, not antagonize customers. Battling over a $20 sale item ruins your day more than the customers – move on and build sales.

5. Greet at the door. Greet people as soon as they come in and let them know what is on sale with, “Good morning. The whole store is 20% off.” You want to interrupt them before they get to the counter to ask for their money back. The goal is for them to look around. Even if they tell you immediately that they want to make a return, you can counter with, “We can certainly do that for you as well, we just don’t want you to have to stand in line twice.”

6. Hustle. You want to touch as many people as possible. Now is not the time to let someone lazily size a rack, lazily hang merch, or lazily do a return-now is the time to actively get onto the floor and minimize those returns. If employees are too slow, customers will give up, get angry and just say, “Give me my money.”

7. Grab ‘em.
Get them on your mailing list so they can sign up for special deals throughout the year. You can even post a sign at the register.

Encouraging people to buy more is easy when you are already offering discounts, whether on clearance or storewide. Getting their information now will come in handy in 2012.

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Bob PhibbsWriter's Bio: Bob Phibbs is the Retail Doctor®, a best-selling author and speaker who has helped thousands of independent businesses compete. His new book, The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business has received praise from both Inc. magazine and USA Today and can be found at your local bookstore or ordered at He and his work have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur magazine. Questions? Contact Bob at This article was reprinted with permission of the author, Bob Phibbs, aka The Retail Doctor®. Read more articles by this author

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