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Holiday Tips for NYC Retail Businesses to Maximize Profit


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The NYC streets are teeming with shoppers and you’re looking forward to your most profitable holiday season yet. Hopefully Black Friday was successful for you and a sign of healthy sales to come over the coming month. But are you doing everything you can to get shoppers into your stores and entice them to spend? And are you doing everything you can to control costs and maximize profit?

Here at Arista, we have worked closely with NYC’s retail business community for decades. Today we are sharing some holiday tips from some of our most successful retail customers about how to maximize profit this holiday season.

Holiday tips for attracting shoppers and adding to your top line

You’ve done your research and you’ve been planning your inventory for months. Now the holiday season is upon us, and it’s time to make sure your store environment is inviting, comfortable and attractive to shoppers.

Here are 3 holiday tips that get people into your store and make them want to stay (and buy!).

1. Entice them to get off the computer and into the store
Give people a reason to come into the store rather than shopping online. Here are some holiday tips:

  • Encourage people to touch. That’s one thing you can’t do online! For example, if you’re selling cozy sweaters, focus your marketing on the feel as well as the look.
  • Entice them with scent. This is not a new tip for food service establishments: the smell of freshly baked cookies is enough to make anyone open their wallet. For other retail businesses, think of ways to use scent to make an emotional connection.
  • Have a contest or drawing for a highly-sought after item in your store. Ideally, something you’re displaying prominently in the window! (See item #2 for more holiday tips for window displays.)

2. Up your merchandising efforts
Especially in New York City, creating eye-catching window displays has become an art form. And there’s a good reason for that! People travel from all over the world just to walk around Manhattan streets admiring the creative holiday window displays.

But you want them to do more than just admire from the street; you want people to come in and buy! Here are some holiday tips from merchandising experts about creating effective window displays that draw customers into your store.

  • Highlight what people want, rather than what they need
  • Add an unrelated prop that piques curiosity
  • Use contrasting colors that draw attention (like a pop of red in an all-white display to turn heads)
  • Change your display each week to keep people coming back to see what you’ll do next

3. Pay extra attention to comfort conditions in the store
Once you have attracted shoppers into your store, it’s essential that you create a comfortable environment that makes them want to stay and buy. Here are some holiday tips for maximizing comfort:

  • Get lighting right. Harsh, glaring lights can be overwhelming. On the other hand, lighting that’s too dim can be conducive to a cozy setting but your product won’t be visible enough. Use the right combination of ambient light and display lighting that shows off your product to its best advantage.
  • Don’t blast the holiday music too loud. Your background music should be just that: in the background. It is too loud if it impedes conversations between shoppers or between your staff and customers. Also, you might want to mix up the soundtrack as the holidays get closer. At first, those songs put people in the mood to buy, but after weeks people may be tired of hearing them ad-nauseum!
  • Temperature and air flow are critical to shopper comfort. This is one of the most beneficial holiday tips for keeping shoppers engaged in the store. With doors constantly opening as people move in an out of your store, it can be challenging to keep the temperature consistently comfortable.

Yet that’s essential to keeping people in the store, especially if you’re selling clothing. Who wants to try on clothes in a freezing dressing room? Even beyond the temperature, HVAC fans blasting air on customers’ heads can be a turn off and a reason to drive them out of the store.

This is a problem that’s easy to solve by consulting an HVAC design expert, who can fine-tune your air flow to make your space more comfortable for shoppers.

Learn more:
Commercial HVAC Maintenance Tips for Multi-Location Businesses
Retail HVAC: How Clothing Almost Destroyed a Brand New HVAC System

Holiday tips for improving your bottom line by reducing operating costs

Operating expenses can reach an all-time high during the holiday season, and can seriously cut into your profits. You’re probably open longer and paying more in labor costs. No to mention the expenses of holiday lighting and displays, and even employee gifts. (Watch our blog in the coming weeks for some holiday tips about employee gifts!)

Here’s one of our best holiday tips: maximize profit by optimizing your HVAC system to reduce your energy expenses. Did you know that your HVAC system uses as much as 70 percent of the energy you’re paying for each month? That makes it a prime candidate for reducing costs.

Save money with HVAC system maintenance
This is one of our holiday tips that keeps on giving all year long! Regularly maintaining your heating and air conditioning systems keeps them running efficiently. That means they use as little energy as possible. There are lots of ways a tune up can help your system reduce energy consumption. For example:

  • Replacing clogged air filters. Dirty filters impede air flow, which makes your system run longer and use more energy to heat and cool your space.
  • Cleaning grimy coils. Clean coils transfer heat more effectively to maximize efficiency.
  • Adjusting fans and motors. Fine tuning air flow can also make your system more energy efficient AND improve comfort at the same time.
  • Calibrating thermostats. Faulty thermostats can cause your system to run constantly, which can drastically increase energy costs.

HVAC system maintenance has another benefit you may not have considered: preventing costly repairs. Your tech can spot impending problems and replace worn parts before they cause expensive breakdowns that can hurt your business at the worst possible time. (And don’t breakdowns always happen at the worst possible time?)

Learn more:
5 Smart Strategies: Energy Saving Tips for Commercial Buildings
Calculating the Hidden Costs of Poor HVAC Maintenance

Get the guide to understanding your HVAC System's hidden costs.

We hope these holiday tips are helpful to drive up revenue, minimize expenses and maximize profit this holiday season.