Discounts or Decorations: What gets shoppers over the lease line at Christmas

With Christmas 2015 predicted to see an uplift in sales, the industry is asking if those sales will be driven by discounting or if Christmas cheer is back in fashion. Unfortunately, Santa wasn’t picking up his line, so to help answer the question of priorities, we hit the high street and reviewed what retailers are doing to get consumers over the 5m lease line.

If you have gotten used to no sooner seeing the June sales signs come down as the metallic baubles and tinsel go up, you may have been in for a bit of a surprise this year. With only a couple weeks left till Santa drops in…the majority of retailers have barely hung a snowflake. In-fact, walk through the CBD and you are much more likely to see red and green ‘SALE’ signs, than little elves and Christmas trees adorning windows, leaving us asking ‘What’s changed?’.

Well, if Christmas cheer is indeed up, then we can only assume the pressures of investing in multiple channels, across a changing seasonal calendar has left many retailers choosing to invest in point of sale outside of peak shopping periods…replacing reindeer and Santas in board shorts with a simple discount offer, good product edit and maybe some promotional personalisation to an already invested shopper, vs. playing on the magic of the season.

Of course, this is not the case for all and department stores in particular still rely heavily on being the one-stop-shop for gift giving. But again, rather than decking every hall, we are seeing point of sale being focused and edited to destination or high traffic points to drive best bang for buck.


MYER’s Giftorium centralises the Christmas spirit and point of sale in a one stop zone. One of the few retailers to invest in the season showing its importance for department stores to make yearly returns.



MYER’s Giftorium, a much more evolved offer than last year has replaced at least 70% of traditional scatted point of sale displays with a zone of all things gift giving. From personalized Nutella, to initialed leather goods and even personalized Peanuts artwork, to create a centralized Christmas vibe. Unfortunately if you are shopping in the CBD, you have to travel 6 levels to get to this Mecca of gift boxes and the industrial ceiling has never served them well, but it’s without question this is the grandest Christmas statement we have seen this year.


Personalisation is a big player to draw consumers in store this season with everyone from Nutella to initialised leather goods making a play.


Most cosmetics and confectionery stores are making a small gift giving effort as you would expect with this being their major volume sales period, but outside a few notables such as Peter Alexander, Nescafe and Telstra…the majority of retailers have opted for a discount display or standard summertime window. Reinforcing Deloitte’s 2015 Retailers Christmas Survey findings of 59% retailers planning to start discounts early this year.


Lush takes advantage with traditional cosmetics gift packs and limited edition goods to entice.


Telstra surprises with a large window statement.


David Jones, offers customer targeted edits to help shoppers e.g. Wellness Warrior.


Peter Alexander delights with their winter candy land display.


Sunglass Hut uses technology to add interest.



Nescafe, displays one of the few windows that go beyond the normal baubles and tinsel to show how it should be done.

In fact, if you are selling fashion, homewares, sporting goods or food…you don’t have much competition on the high street for best lighting display. With most focused on enticing by giving a 30% discount, supported by a digital display/catalogue as a nod to the season.


Those that go beyond just a discount sign, still show minimalist effort to embrace the season, suggesting other priorities.


So is the magic of Christmas dead and being replaced by a scrooge of shoppers? We would like to think not, but there is certainly room for improvement to bring a bit of wonder back to the store experience. While kids will always drag mom and dad for the annual photo with Santa, good retailing is as much about driving emotions as it is wallet practicalities and perhaps a few too many of us forgot the lessons of ‘A Christmas Carol’ this year.

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