Now that Halloween is out of the way, you can turn your attention to creating some fabulous Christmas displays.

I know in-store theatre is not everyone’s cup of tea but it is great for interrupting shoppers who can be are on auto pilot at this time of year. Yes, most people seem to be in a hurry but it’s amazing how they can be distracted by a bit of tinsel and some twinkles. I know I am.

However, I do think there is a fine line between so-called theatre and clutter, which means it has to be managed carefully.

I think it’s probably best to have some sort of plan dependent upon your store size and space available. When I visited last year’s Forecourt Trader of the Year winner Sewell on the go, I was immediately distracted and impressed by an in-store display, right at the front, when you entered the shop. It was attractive and well put together. It wasn’t showcasing Christmas lines but local ones.

If you have space, I’d suggest something similarly eye-catching to show off any Christmas lines, backed up by further pos material around the store. Suppliers invest a lot of money in pos stuff posters, wobblers etc so if you can get your hands on some of them, do, as they wouldn’t fork out on them if they didn’t work as a sales tool.

Of course, forecourt/convenience stores are all about the convenience being able to fill up your car and your belly at the same time. Oh and if a customer happens to see something that would make a great little gift too, all the better. That’s especially the case for anyone who’s been roped into the office Secret Santa.

With so many of you sited in neighbour-hood locations, gifting really is a gift of an opportunity. But that’s true elsewhere too just think of all the stuff that motorway service areas sell nowadays.

There’s a lot of talk about the grocery mults ’stealing Christmas’ from the independents with their cut-throat deals, but some of the indies I have spoken to are fighting back by playing to their strengths. This means the freedom to order products that work for them and their customers, which are often something a little different to the Tescos of this world.