Michael Ellis is a Die Hard Christmas movie fan!
Michael Ellis is a Die Hard Christmas movie fan!

It’s hard to believe it’s already upon us. The C-word is almost here and the greatest Christmas movie, (that’s Die Hard by the way), will get another run on the TV along with Chevy Chase hopelessly navigating the seasonal activities as loveable character Clark W. Griswold.

Typically, the holiday period can go any time from Melbourne Cup through to Australia Day. Some decide to take early leave leading into summer or delay coming back in the new year and, as a result, very few decisions are made during this time. Projects become hectic or quiet – “Are we going to tender before the holidays, or is it a next year thing?”

This year it is understandably different. This year everyone NEEDS a break. But will we get one?

Hopefully even our CovidSafe Christmas will be more functional than the Griswald Family Christmas!
Hopefully even our CovidSafe Christmas will be more functional than the Griswald Family Christmas!

Christmas Retail & Centre Santas

A significant part of the Christmas festivities is the shopping spree; admiring the carefully curated displays, creative window dressings and indulging in the sweet Christmas delicacies. And of course….seeing Santa.

Scentre Group Director of Customer Experience, Phil McAveety provided insight into Westfield’s approach to Christmas in 2020.

“We’ll bring to life the magic customers expect of us, whilst prioritising the wellbeing of our customers, retail partners and our employees.”

And will Santa be coming to town?

“We’ve redesigned the Santa photo so families are sitting at a safe distance from Santa, with more decorations and props to make it fun and memorable.”

While this is important, it’s very much just an extension of the current social distancing and safety precautions. If everyone is going to wear a mask, I hope it’s as good as McCauly Culkin’s Home Alone themed gem!

Christmas-themed masks include this Home Alone gem!
Christmas-themed masks include this Home Alone gem!

Digital Queuing

I’m a huge fan of Vicinity‘s approach of looking to technology to help provide their customers with safe shopping experiences these holidays.

“A new digital queueing system will help participating retailers support a safer and easier experience for customers, manage capacity in their stores and reduce congestion in malls. Customers can log onto our centre websites and pre-book a time to shop, while customers in-centre can use a QR code to join a virtual queue, rather than lining up outside a store, if capacity is reached in-store.”

Extended trading hours will also encourage more customers to visit and provide increased casual employment for the period.

It’s a promising sign with Black Friday sales also expected to have an even representation of online and physical shopping based on Westfield’s iQ survey.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

So it appears Christmas is still on and I’ll have to book a time to see Santa with my son. This is all well and good heading into the end of the year but we must remember that this isn’t just a ‘2020 thing’ (though it would be amazing if it was). New measures, systems, technologies and perhaps trading hours will continue to evolve into 2021. Retailers and customers must adapt to this so that we can all have a safe and happy new year too.

Click through to see what else Michael Ellis has written:

Particularly relevant for Christmas shopping: Plastic Bag Overload

Talking Rubbish