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November Cover Story: 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

By November 11, 2016Connecticut, Rhode Island, Top News

Text by W.R. Tish; Photographs by Samuel Bristow hgg8

What catches the eye? Bright colors. Bold shapes. Moving objects. The products in our annual roundup of holiday gift packs are certainly colorful and boldly designed—and while we don’t expect them to literally jump off the shelves, they are built to move.

The idea behind customized Value Added Packs (aka VAPs), as they are often called, is simple—and timeless: make gift-giving even easier for shoppers.

Take a good product, dress it up to grab attention, and maybe toss in an enticing freebie (or two). Logo glassware, recipe booklet, a mixology tool, a corkscrew… Such add-ons are just the tipping point some people need to make a gift-buying decision. Maybe they are wavering on a product to pick, just in a hurry, or really don’t want to gift wrap. Whatever their motivation, VAPs represent prepackaged shortcuts to gifting success. And there should be days this Q4 when they fly out the door.

The depth and range of VAPs a merchant stocks depends greatly on store space and layout. Here are a few tips to incorporate these seasonal special-edition products into your store:

  • Whatever you decide to carry, make sure your staff is given the details; they need to explain the “added value” item; sometimes it’s not always obvious, as in a type of glass that is designed for a specific drink.
  • Avoid overkill. Huge piles of any product tend to make them look cheaper; and trying to stock them by category could be a logistical nightmare. Having one table or shelf section devoted to gifts will get attention and give the products a nicer presentation.
  • Don’t turn your back on the good-ol’ gift of a bottle of wine or spirits. Make sure you have gift bags available—as simple as mylar bags with yarn kept under the front counter or as fancy as a spinning floor rack of decorative bags. And “We have gift bags!” signage can only help.
  • Keep small or less expensive items near the cash register as impulse buys. This includes corkscrews and accessories that take up little space, as well as stocking-stuffable 50ml miniatures or even 187ml and 375ml bottles.

No matter how many seasonal VAPs you stock, remember perhaps the most important added-value of all when selling to the public: Don’t forget to smile!

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