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4 Visual Merchandising Tips for the Holidays

4 Visual Merchandising Tips for the Holidays

The holidays are quickly approaching, which means it’s time to prepare for an increase in customers, sales, and eyes on your product displays. To take advantage of this busy time of the year, make sure you have updated all of your displays to incorporate different elements from the season. Here are some visual merchandising tips for the holidays to get you started:

1. Target all of the senses

Merchandising tends to only focus on what customers see, but what about the other senses? The holidays are closely associated with very specific scents and sounds, so try to incorporate them into your display to create a better experience for your customers. Spritz a cinnamon or pine tree scent into the air around your holiday displays, and pair it with light music playing in the background. This will activate all of your customers’ senses and create a more enticing display for your merchandise.

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2. Tie in local charities

Celebrate the season of giving by tying local charities into your displays and encouraging customers to get involved in the community. For example, work with a local chapter of the Adopt A Family organization and find out what items are on the wish lists of needy local families. Then, group some of these items together and display them in your store with an informational sign telling customers how they can buy these items to donate to Adopt A Family. If you can, you should try to match donations or give back in some other way so customers don’t think you’re doing this for the sole purpose of increasing sales. Using a charity in your merchandising strategy is a great way to connect and give back to your community with an engaging product display!

3. Focus on impulse buys

What products are you currently displaying near checkout? Most of the year, you might use this space for gum, small candies and magazines, but the holidays are different. During this time of year, customers will be looking for small gifts that can be used as stocking stuffers, and the checkout aisle is the perfect place to display these. Use the checkout aisle to sell candies in holiday-themed packaging, small toys, and gift cards, which are all perfect as stocking stuffers. Just don’t forget to add a sign that creates a sense of urgency by reminding customers they still need to buy stocking stuffers for the little ones in their family!

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The checkout aisle is also the perfect place to put items that customers frequently need during the holiday season. How many times have you run out of tape while right in the middle of wrapping presents? Don’t let it happen to your customers by keeping tape, bows, and other gift wrapping essentials within arm’s reach of the checkout counter.

4. Be nostalgic

Most of the time, retailers and grocery store distributors try to make displays seem as modern and innovative as possible, but that’s not necessarily the best strategy during this time of year. Around the holidays, people tend to think a lot about their childhood. Tap into this emotion by incorporating visuals that look a little vintage or old-fashioned into your displays to make customers feel nostalgic. If your merchandising reminds customers of their childhood, they may start having positive memories about spending the holidays with their family and associate these positive feelings with your products. Think about using muted reds and greens, along with images of families around the dinner table to get through to your holiday shoppers.

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Are you putting together special displays for the holidays? Remember to use these tips to incorporate a holiday theme into your merchandising for increasing your sales.

Featured photo credit: Good Housekeeping via ghk.h-cdn.co

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Joel Goldstein

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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