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Article by Josh Strutt
Associate Director – Deployment, Retail Doctor Group


‘Fit’ retail teams win their Grand Final of retailing each year by ensuring the basics are in place.

Visits to shopping centres and precincts this month have also strengthened my view on the other elements that contribute to a successful Christmas trading period which are slightly more intangible.

Let’s call this the ‘PEF’ factor with this hastily constructed anagram standing for: 

  • Passion 
  • Energy
  • Freshness 

Let me illustrate with the visits to shopping centre this week.   

One retailer (a tea shop) had ‘PEF’ happening and was clearly in top form. The store had passionate staff, whose enthusiasm for the customer and their product was infectious, as was the highly energetic buzz and vibe of the place, supported by impressive, bright, in-store messaging with clearly laid out categories. Plenty of energy, movement and ‘retailtainment’ which attracted an impressive ‘peel-off rate’ and sales, keeping it fresh with innovative ideas and ways of interesting their customers where part of the success. 

This business knew its point of difference, focused on entertaining their customers, underpinned with solid product knowledge and retailing expertise whilst keeping it fresh and new. The merchandising and layout created a ‘talking store’ and their staff energy added a layer that said, “we are the only retailer to spend your money with this EOFY”.

Conversely some other retailers displayed the same look that we would have seen at any other time in the year, apart from a few hastily assembled Christmas decorations and props. Comparatively less passionate staff, lower energy, with the same windows and in store messaging, that we saw last month.  A low score on the “PEF” scale and fairly miss able on the customer’s radar for this EOFY.

The differences are obviously sharp and yet are there in every centre and precinct as we fast approach the Grand Final of retail this year being the Christmas period.

The how to make a great success of Christmas this year and rate highly on the ‘PEF’ scale is a critical consideration, and we should be using our learnings from periods such as EOFY and school holidays to adapt our approach for the Grand Final. It’s not about playing the game the same way all season, you need to adapt yourself to maximise your offer.

Review each week from mid-October until the post-Christmas period with the following: 

  • What is the promotional message/campaign on a weekly basis (Is our point of difference reinforced through this messaging?) 
  • What are our hero products each week and daily as we approach Christmas Eve? 
  • How are we promoting and managing these hero products (depth in relevant range)? 
  • What is our in-store messaging to support these campaigns each week? 
  • Have we got effective props and in store vibe (including relevant music and fragrance)? 
  • Are our windows simple, powerful, fresh, and compelling? 
  • What is our weekly customer value proposition? 
  • Have we got our CRM programs working well and are we offering a reason for Customers to return in late October – all the way through to Post Christmas and New Year events that isn’t just about discounting the margin? 
  • Have we communicated these goals and tactics clearly to all team members as they prepare for Christmas (it starts with alignment)?
  • How are our people in this period? Are they fresh, & rested, energetic and ready to play in the Grand Final?  
  • Have we got the Christmas sales incentives in place? 
  • Do we have daily start up meetings with sales targets, product information in place?

Concentrate on that “PEF” scale, to maximise that discerning customer this Christmas, and win additional sales and profits. 

Happy Fit Retailing  


Retail Doctor Group deployment team can give you more tips to be the best of the best in your industry. For more on Retail Doctor Group’s retail consultant services driven by our “fit for business fitness™” programs, email or phone 02 9460 2882. 

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