Posted on by Jessica Peaty

Retail: How to handle last-minute Christmas shoppers

It’s less than a week until Christmas, and thousands are yet to do their annual gift shopping. In fact, we’ve noticed that most shoppers will leave it down to the wire before hitting the cold expanse of the busy high street. As footfall continues to rise the closer Christmas gets, we understand that retailers can start to feel overwhelmed when they’re greeted by a sudden surge of shoppers. Especially when not all of them will necessarily buy something.

To any retail business, this increase in traffic should be seized as an opportunity to generate more business! But it all depends on how you market yourself, and how approachable you are as a business over the period. As such, we’ve written this blog to address how you can deal with last minute Christmas shoppers! First and foremost…

Take good care of your staff

Your employees need to be on their A game once shoppers start pouring in. Most will understand that this period will require heightened effort and attention, so making sure your employees can effectively work under the pressure is key to making it through. Ensure your staff aren’t overworked, and allow them to take small breaks if required.

Even little things such as appropriating the temperature of the store can work wonders for your staff; as one member of our team pointed out, there are lots of stores that become unbearable thanks to a combination of central heating, long queues and body heat. This is not a throwaway tip! Regulating the temperature in your store will make for a much more pleasant shopping experience.

Re-organise the store in advance

A successful store will be organised properly at the best of times, but this is a crucial part of dealing with last minute Christmas shoppers. By reorganising your store in anticipation for the busy period, you can increase the efficiency of both your staff and traffic in your store. Ensure the store is more spacious than usual, as queues are expected to be larger than usual.

Don’t be afraid to go one step further and encourage staff to converse will customers in the queue, which could ease the frustration of having to queue for lengthy periods of time. At the same time, even if you’re not anticipating a busy December, always be prepared for the worst; massive surges of customers could show up any time and should be expected.

Put your best deals in plain sight

Your best deals need to be adequately advertised. This will gravitate the larger volume of customers towards them. This can maximise revenue and decrease the likelihood that too many customers will spend a long time in the store. On that note…

Urgency gives way to necessity

Make your last minute shoppers feel lucky that they’ve got a chance at snagging your best deals! Does this sound manipulative? We can certainly see why, but remember that having deals so close to Christmas will set you apart from other retailers. It could even generate  some good press and increase the number of returning customers!


Hopefully we’ve been able to help out employees and managers both with our tips on correctly handling last minute shoppers. It’s easily one of the most intense periods of the year for high street stores, rivaling Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, keep our tips in mind and you should make it through the occasion unscathed!

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