Yes, it’s that time of year again, time to create and distribute your holiday Gift Guide for your tennis store. You’ve probably noticed that some large retailers have had their holiday promotions in full swing for weeks already.
Remember, a Gift Guide is your collection of products, individually or bundled together, that your specialty tennis retail store recommends as gifts for the holidays between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. What’s your target market for your Gift Guide? Both tennis players and non-tennis-playing gift buyers.
One key question is whether you should develop a printed Gift Guide or an online Gift Guide. And what about a Gift Guide for mobile application? The best answer is to develop one Gift Guide for all possible uses and applications, including in-store hand-outs, direct response mail, your store website, for electronic distribution and for mobile application. You need to do only one Gift Guide, but it should be carefully thought-out with one layout and one design that can be used across the board. And it should be planned with your suppliers, so that you not only get their support, it will also ensure the products you select are both popular and available.
The heart of all Gift Guides is the “collection” or portfolio of products, which starts with your selection of products. Plan this collection with your suppliers and sales reps; ask their advice on what tennis products are hot for men, women and kids this holiday season.
While you definitely want appealing product to include in your Gift Guide, make sure you also ask your suppliers for the best “deals” on the products they recommend. And don’t be shy about asking for graphics and photographs, product and sponsorship support for your store’s holiday Gift Guide to help you cover production and distribution costs.
‘Bundles’ and Holiday Baskets
In addition to having great individual items, your Gift Guide should feature “bundles” of products and services that represent both a value and differentiate your specialty tennis store from all other competition. For instance, a bundle can consist of balls and a certificate for lessons from a local pro, or court time at a local tennis facility, or a special beginner’s bundle for the holidays that includes a racquet, string selection, swing analysis and beginner’s lessons from a local pro.
A “Holiday Gift Basket” would consist of smaller tennis accessories, such as a can of balls, packages of string, sweatbands, hat, socks, string dampeners, etc., “bundled” in an attractive gift-basket. Gift baskets aren’t just for stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond!
Once-A-Year Gift Buyers
We mentioned non-tennis-playing gift buyers, but let’s refine that definition to emphasize the Once-A-Year Tennis Gift Buyer. The holiday buying opportunity is (**ital.)big(**reg) because there are a larger number of non-tennis-playing shoppers looking for gifts for tennis-playing family, friends and co-workers. These are the folks who wouldn’t normally shop in your store or visit your website any other time, simply because they are not tennis players themselves. You need to make sure your store and staff is “friendly” for those who aren’t as familiar with tennis and tennis merchandise.
The important point here is making it simple and easy to buy from your store for these shoppers. A Gift Guide with a well thought out “collection” of tennis products and value bundles that are compelling, appealing and easy to understand and purchase will help the non-tennis playing grandmother make a gift-giving purchase decision for her tennis-playing grandkids.
Your Holiday Gift Guide is an important marketing tool for your store brand to reach both your regular tennis customers and attract the once-a-year non-tennis-playing gift buyer. Coordinate your Gift Guide with all of your store’s marketing and merchandising functions and activities, including:
* Your Gift Guide should be the focal point of your direct-response print and electronic messages.
* Include your Gift Guide in all of your holiday advertising.
* Include your Gift Guide in your store signs and merchandising displays.
* Distribute the Gift Guide at special events and include it in customer awards programs.
* Feature your Gift Guide on your website and in all promotions.