From Black Friday to Boxing Day, the Christmas trading period wouldn’t be complete without Sales. But how can retailers make sure to hit the right mark?


The post-Christmas discounting rush can be make or break for some retailers, especially for those suffering from a worse than expected golden quarter.

However, big red signs won’t be the only thing to bring shoppers through the doors or online. Retailers need to stand out from the crowd with must-see events and guaranteed low prices.

Bring the fanfare

Upmarket department store Harrods is known for its Boxing Day Sale – and not only for slashing prices on its luxury goods, which can include up to 80% off designer shoes and 50% off womenswear. 

Shoppers queue outside Harrods’ London store for more than four hours before its 10am opening the day after Christmas.

“Customers and tourists flock to Harrods to be met with surprise guests and performances in the lead-up to the Sale”

This year, they were treated to free hot beverages served by suit-clad butlers and entertainment from a Motown band.

Each Christmas, customers and tourists flock to the Knightsbridge store to be met with surprise guests and performances in the lead-up to the Sale.

Previous years have included live performances from Elf the Musical and Florence Welch, of Florence and the Machine, as well as free snacks and beverages served on silver platters.

By creating novelty around the Sale as an entertainment extravaganza, rather than just a simple discounting event, Harrods ensures that shoppers are excited to see what the department store has planned each year, keeping their Sales proposition new and fresh.

Make it exclusive

Next, another Boxing Day Sale veteran, takes a different tack to bring customers to store.

Throughout the year, Next traditionally maintains full-price trading with the exception of two end-of-season Sales, one at the end of summer and one post-Christmas event.

The retailer first deviated from this stance in 2017, when it launched its first Black Friday Sale – however, there was a very limited amount of stock included in the promotion. By advertising its participation in Black Friday, Next benefits from footfall and hopes to get shoppers buying full-price items.

The knowledge that products will only appear at such low prices infrequently means customers fill Next’s stores to take advantage of exclusive deals.

With Next opening its doors at 6am on Boxing Day, queues can start from as early as 3am as savvy shoppers wait to grab a bargain.

Instead of running discounts year-round, Next’s limited offers mean the high street retailer’s Sale remains one of the most anticipated of the festive season.

“Loyal Next customers can access online deals from as early as December 20, beating the Boxing Day rush”

Online, Next offers exclusive VIP shopping slots for customers who have its credit card, allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Loyal Next customers can access online deals from as early as December 20, beating the Boxing Day rush.

This plays on the exclusivity factor, while also persuading customers to spend all year round as card-holders must have placed and kept an order from the season’s Next Directory, returned less than two-thirds of their seasonal orders and have £250 credit available. 

Count it down

Online retailers can sometimes struggle to compete on price as customers can easily shop around to find the lowest offer.

To combat this, mattress retailer Emma issued a countdown to its “biggest ever Sale” starting at the beginning of December, leading up to the discounting event the day after Christmas.

When they went on the website, potential customers were met with a clock counting down to the Boxing Day Sale extravaganza.

By guaranteeing its products would be going on Sale, Emma encouraged its customers to hold out for Boxing Day for their big-ticket mattress purchase, rather than heading over to competitors that began their Sales earlier.

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