While convenience stores may not usually be the most popular choice of channel when it comes to shopping for Christmas, the biggest national event on the calendar, there is still plenty of cheer to be spread around for 2016. So here’s some quick wins to ensure you’re making the most out of the festive footfall driving occasion, writes HIM’s Ruth Cousins.

Our research tells us that the percentage of shoppers heading to convenience stores for their gifting mission doubles from 3% in November to 6% in December. Stock merchandise that makes for attractive displays and shout loudly about your gifting options among shoppers. A quarter of convenience shoppers visit the same store every day so they need surprising when it comes to turning them off autopilot – if they don’t see it, they won’t buy it!

Focusing on local initiatives and community involvement is a fantastic USP for convenience stores to tap into. The main competition (supermarkets and discounters) will find it harder to offer the same level of community interaction that local retailers can. Running promotions that will see a share of the profits going to a local charity and simple events such as a raffles will not only help the less fortunate during a time of giving, but will also encourage your local shoppers to keep visiting your store.

And, finally, the best gift you can offer your customers this Christmas is the gift of convenience. Christmas is notoriously a time for last-minute shopping and shoppers will be looking to their trusty local convenience store in times of need. One-fifth of shoppers we spoke to said that they started their Christmas Day food and drink shopping between 21 and 24 December. Therefore, highlighting that you can cater for this last-minute Christmas mentality can act as yet another USP for your store. Make sure there is clear signage about your opening hours and promotions so that shoppers think of your store when they need to grab something.

So for a holiday that is all about tradition, 
why not try warming things up by experimenting with something different in your store this year?