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How to make the most of participating in a Christmas Shopping Crawl

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A Christmas Shopping Crawl is a way for the local business community to work together with the intent of driving footfall and sales to high street stores and other consumer-service brands at the peak time of year for many retailers. It is intended to be a fun and competitive “game” for shoppers and a yet can deliver a more serious, positive impact on the local business community.

Your local activation partner

In each community we hope that we will have a “local activation partner” – this may be a town centre manager, FSB rep, member of the local chamber of commerce, an employee of the local council or representative of a local business group. Your local activation partner is there to support the creation of the Christmas shopping crawl, co-ordinating and implementing the structures around the crawl.

Your local partner will:

  • Be the first point of contact for retailers who want to get involved, confirming who will participate
  • Help to create your local “crawl map” based on a template provided by the campaign team and with the support of a local graphic designer. The map will pin-point all the participating retailers on that map
  • Print and distribute crawl maps to all participating retailers as well as hand out the campaign window posters and thank you cards that will be provided
  • Support with the local marketing of the crawl to ensure consumers are aware HOWEVER as participating retailers it must also be stressed that you should encourage your customers to do the crawl, because if all retailers in the community encourage all customers it could be hugely beneficial to all involved.
  • Collect completed crawl maps and manage the “prize draw” (one of the incentives for completing a crawl)

How YOU can make the most out of the Christmas Shopping Crawl

The purpose of the crawls is to create a sense of fun for consumers, to drive footfall to places where they perhaps would not ordinarily go, and to engage the retailers in a community to work together for their mutual benefit. With that in mind you need to think about the best way to really make the most of the footfall in the area generally and specifically that comes in your store.

1. Displaying the Independent Christmas window poster

There is a call to action on the window poster – “Come inside to find out more”. Clearly some people will, so step 1 is to ensure ALL staff are briefed about the campaign, why you are involved and excited about it – do not underestimate the power of infectious enthusiasm, from you to your staff, from your staff to your customers! Your team should be quick to explain that a Shopping Crawl is happening in the area, to describe what it’s all about, that it’s a really fun way to do  Christmas shopping and how there is a chance to win. Staff should provide a local crawl map to the person who has made the effort to do as you ask and “find out more”. Of course some visitors will come inside because they are already doing the crawl, so the poster helps them identify that you are a participating retailer.

2. Using “Thank You” cards

The thank you cards have been designed with a space for you to put your shop stamp / sticker under the wording, as if you are “signing off” the message. This also tells the shopper where they got the card from. A card should be placed inside the bag of every customer who buys from you from 12th November until Christmas day. We are still trying to agree sponsorship for cards. If we are unable to supply these free then you will be able to download the artwork from our Flickr or Dropbox locations (see section below “resources and information” for links) which you can print locally. Your local activation partner may be able to help sourcing a printer and may even help cover the costs. The cards include some stats and info that explains the value to the local economy of their £1 when it is spent locally vs. spent out of town or online. It will only be through educating consumers that we can expect to create a change in their behaviour. I think many shoppers will be surprised when they read this information (I know I was). If you are quizzed about the source of the stats it has come from research by the FSB in partnership with the Centre for Local Economic Studies (CLES).

3. Making the most of participation in a Shopping Crawl

Of course the most significant part of this campaign is the opportunity to be involved in a crawl. Here are some ideas as to how to engage the footfall that the crawl generates and to make the most of every visitor, even if all they want to do on that occasion is “tick off” their crawl map and move on to the next outlet on the map:

  • No minimum spend should be required to give a customer a stamp on the map – we don’t want to “put people off” who aren’t your ideal customer
    • However make sure you do engage everyone – even if it’s obvious that your offer doesn’t match their needs you can still ensure you press a voucher or flyer into their hand “for the XYZ person in your life who might like….” – meaning you encourage them to pass on the promotional material to someone who could be an ideal customer for you and you can benefit later from their visit to your store.
  • Everyone who comes in your store could be a customer – so even if they’re just getting their crawl map stamped give them the same level of welcome, with a smile, as if they were your highest spending customer. Do try and engage them in conversation – you won’t be wasting your time; at least they’ll remember you and maybe if someone says “do you know a local shop where I can buy XXX” they may just recommend you too. If items you have for sale pique their interest they may well come back.
    • The fundamental point of the crawl, at the most basic level, is to reintroduce the local community to the shops and services in their area. It’s about increasing footfall.
    • The next purpose is to leverage that footfall – immediate sales, future sales, recommend a friend…
    • The final purpose is data capture – when they complete their crawl maps they provide the local activation partner with their details. They have to opt-out if they do not want their details circulating, otherwise your local partner should collate all their data and supply on a spreadsheet to all participating retailers – this is a massive remarketing opportunity for everyone involved AND for the local partner too!
  • Finally, you’ll get to meet more local people that you ordinarily would, so it’s a great opportunity to chat to them, find out what they think about the town as a whole, why they shop there, why they don’t and perhaps learn a bit more about what the town as a whole needs (or indeed what you as a retailer need) to ensure they don’t stay away in future.

Other resources and Information

You may additionally wish to look into the following:

If you would like to speak to us please call 01727 238890 or email – bear with us if there is a delay – we are a very small team. You should receive a response within a day of your enquiry, however, if we have a high level of demand please understand it may take a little longer to come back to you.


Appendix 1: Key dates

It is surprising how limited the time is for us to create and deliver Christmas Shopping Crawls. Everything must be in place for the campaign to launch on 12th November 2012. With that in mind here are some key dates we will be aiming for:

  • Target Friday 12th October to finalise the list of activation partners – incorporating representatives from FSB & ATCM / Town Team Partners.
  • Target Monday 22nd October – Confirmation from activation partners as to number of retailers they want to support with materials (posters and thank you cards)
    • Local partners should also now begin to prepare local maps based on confirmed participating retailers – including design, print and then distribution.
    • Local partners should ensure all participating retailers are listed (free of charge) on for maximum exposure.
  • Target 1st November – Shipment of posters / thank you cards will be made to activation partners based on requested volumes, these should arrive by Monday 5th
  • W/C 5th November – local partner distributes ALL materials to retailers – posters, thank you cards and their own local crawl maps.
    • W/C 5th November – partners will ensure that all local PR has been prepared – news releases, press coverage and any other local promotion is arranged
  • Monday 12th November – retailers and local partners launch campaign – window posters up, thank you cards are given away to all shoppers from the launch and until Christmas day, local partner secures local radio / TV and press features on launch day.
    • Campaign then runs through until Xmas day; clearly the last 1-2 weeks will be most critical for those involved as this is usually the peak period for footfall / gift purchases
    • Local partner needs to be able to collect completed crawls from consumers to enter them into the free draw… as per outline of instructions above.
  • After Christmas Day – local activation partner announces winner(s) of shopping crawl challenge and creates local press / PR around the presentation of prizes – another opportunity to draw attention to the traders who were involved during the crawl itself and perhaps a great photo-opportunity for the local MP as well! 


Author: retailaccounting

CounterBooks is an online retail accounting management suite which is used by retailers across the world.

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