Saturday, October 13, 2012

Offer a Fantasy Gift for the Holidays

The Neiman Marcus Christmas Book is out. As usual, the high-end offerings are spiked with the “fantasy gifts,” like a $150,000 wood-paneled party trailer, a $354,000 sports car, and, “starting at $1,090,000,” a package deal of Van Cleef & Arpels watches, a trip to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower portrayed on the watch faces, and on to Geneva to tour the watchmaker’s facilities.
     These are available only through the catalog, not in-store. People can’t drop into their neighborhood Neiman Marcus with $150,000, ready to hook up the trailer. You can do better. Think about a fantasy gift you can offer in your store for the holiday gift-giving season.
  • Publicity. The Neiman Marcus fantasy gifts are featured in countless newspaper articles and television news pieces. Such publicity is invaluable in maintaining brand awareness. When you create your fantasy gift package, send out a press release. Then send out a press release when the fantasy gift is purchased. Aim for “when purchased” rather than “if purchased” by keeping the price high enough to draw attention, but low enough to attract a buyer. 
  • Tradition. By announcing a fantasy gift each year, as Neiman Marcus does, you create a tradition which arouses curiosity about your store at the time people are thinking about gifting. Augment the advantages by carrying items like Christmas tree ornaments, Lladró figurines, and Painted Ponies collectibles which periodically have new releases. At other times of the year, adding such items to your merchandise or service mix could distort your store brand image, according to research at University of Pennsylvania, the Verde Group, and the Retail Council of Canada. But during the holidays, such items are interpreted by consumers as signaling the retailing reliability of tradition. 
  • Social consciousness. Neiman Marcus is donating to charity a portion of the fantasy gift sales receipts. For example, 10% percent of the proceeds from the purchase of the party trailer benefits amfAR™, The Foundation for AIDS Research. You could do something similar, but consumer psychology research findings suggest you pair the charity recipient with the nature of the gift and the preferences of the purchaser. 
  • Anchoring. With those price points for the fantasy gifts, everything else seems like a bargain by comparison. As it happens, about 40% of the items in the Christmas Book cost less than $250. Your fantasy gift will be the draw to inspect your other holiday merchandise and services. 
Click below for more: 
Boost Profits by Making Items Collectibles 
Project Your Brand Positively

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