It is becoming increasingly important to provide shoppers with an outstanding in-store experience. According to HIM Research & Consulting studies, shoppers who have a great in-store experience are likely to spend more in store, have a larger basket size, visit more frequently and recommend a store to a friend, writes HIM’s Alice Dolling.

While getting the basics right is fundamental to achieving high satisfaction, outstanding levels will only be met when retailers and suppliers go beyond the norm. One way of doing this is by playing to the seasons.

A great opportunity to leverage this is Christmas. According to c-store retailers, Christmas is the most effective seasonal event of the year in terms of driving sales – and it is just around the corner. Standout Christmas displays, clear communication regarding seasonal promotions and even staff dress-up days are just some ways to enhance the in-store experience.

Retailers and suppliers will need to keep on top of which seasonal events are trending in order to truly understand what will get the most engagement. For example, the number of consumers who searched for ‘Halloween’ in Google in 2006 was almost half of the number who did in 2016. Understanding when shoppers tend to start purchasing for a season is also important in order to know when to put up displays and so on – more than two-fifths of shoppers purchasing for Easter this year did so more than two weeks in advance.

While seasonal events are great at improving the in-store experience if cleverly planned, preparation needs to go beyond in-store experience factors. Understanding what shoppers will be demanding will be imperative to get the right range. For example, at Christmas-time nearly two in five shoppers are more inclined to purchase premium products from a c-store, and more than one in 10 will use their local c-store to purchase roast dinner items for their Christmas meal.

Retailers and suppliers should make the most of seasons; they should look at shoppers’ importances, needs and reasons for purchasing in order to get the right seasonal range. Executing this range with excellence will further drive value.