Christmas is fast approaching and having a Santa’s grotto is a great way to promote your business and boost your retail sales during this busy season. To help your store embrace the magic of Christmas, Richard Cutmore, Director of TFH Gazebos, gives Modern Retail his top five ways to market your Santa’s grotto this festive season.
For many families, no Christmas is complete without a visit to Santa. The tradition has become so widespread that some luxury department stores, such as Harrods, have had to reduce crowds by allowing access to their Santa’s grotto by invitation only (Financial Times).
But it’s not only great for children, because having a Santa’s grotto is a great way to market your brand to your customers and bring in new ones. Plus, it’ll really help to establish your company as a family brand. So, as the festive season approaches, you’ve probably already made your grotto plans and are coming up with ways to make it the most magical Christmas experience yet.
These expert tips will help you make the most of this marketing opportunity:
1. Design the perfect grotto space
Your first plan of action should be designing your grotto space to create a winter wonderland fit for Santa and his elves to bring in those Christmassy customers. If you’ve got room, dedicate an area of your store to your Santa’s grotto and use fairy lights, tinsel, a Christmas tree and empty presents to decorate. You could even add a snowy background using a printed backdrop banner to create the perfect atmosphere.
Or, why not invest in a pop-up Santa’s grotto? These gazebos are cleverly printed with a snow-covered roof, roaring fireplace, Christmas tree and presents. They’re reusable and take just minutes to put up — all you need to do is add your comfy chair for Santa! Plus, this way, your grotto is sure to stand out, even from afar, so excited visitors can spot it straight away and you can entice curious customers to join in on the fun. If your grotto will take place outside, you can keep excited visitors (and Santa himself) warm and cosy by adding a few heaters and blankets.
2. Advertise in the run up to Christmas
As with any event you host, advertising is key to getting a large attendance, so make sure you’re promoting your grotto at least a month ahead, using posters and flyers. Social media is a great place to generate some excitement about an event you’re hosting, and it’s the ideal way to reach your target audience as well as getting your name out there organically through tags and sharing. You can create a Facebook event, share your grotto building journey on Instagram, and send out live updates on Twitter. Anything you can do to get the word out will help to boost the visibility of your brand as well as your footfall.
3. Refine your customer service
Good customer service can go a long way towards building a good reputation for your brand. But the run up to Christmas is no doubt your busiest time of the year, and yourself and your staff will be rushed off your feet. And, if you’ve got a busy Santa’s grotto to deal with, things can get a bit hectic, so it can help to plan ahead to keep your customer service up to its usual standard.
Think about the logistics of your grotto. Will children be given a set amount of time with Santa? Will you have a secret signal to let Santa know his time is almost up? It might help to take bookings in advance and allocate each child a timeslot to make sure each guest has enough time with Santa. And don’t forget to give Santa the name of the child as they enter the grotto so you can give them a truly magical and personalised experience that they won’t forget any time soon.
4. Buy a selection of presents
Of course, no visit to Santa is complete without a gift and giving your customers something to take home with them that has your logo on can make your branding go even further. You’ll want to consider your budget and ticket price in order to make a profit. If your entry price is small, you can find low costing gifts like selection boxes, colouring books, teddies and dolls that carry your branding. However, it’s important to remember that your guests will want to feel that the value of the present reflects the amount they’ve paid for the experience. So, if your ticket price is a little higher, try to make your gifts more luxurious to keep them happy. If parents feel that they got good value for money, they’re more likely to recommend your store and come back next year.
5. Remember the little things
Adding a few extras can help to keep guests happy and make them feel that they’ve got the most out of their money, which makes them feel positively towards your brand. So, you could hand out free Christmas cookies and hot drinks to keep everyone in the festive spirit. Or, consider having some extra activities going on as they wait, like decorating Christmas ornaments or stockings. You could also take pictures of the children with Santa as a little memento to take home. This way, they’ll never forget their magical visit to your Santa’s grotto, and they’ll be able to share their experience with their friends and family, too.
A visit to Santa’s grotto is an exciting Christmas tradition for families all across the country. The five tips in this guide should help you spread the magic and create a truly unforgettable experience this festive season that can help market your brand to lots of new customers.
Credit: Richard Cutmore, Director of TFH Gazebos,
Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing. As Modern Retail’s Content Editor, Holly is passionate about helping independent retailers to thrive in today’s ever-changing market.