This guest post is a transcript of a speech given by Flloyd Leesam, Chair of the Global Retail Association Board, to invited guests at the GRAB Christmas party.
We all love gifts, don't we ladies and gentlemen - both giving them and receiving them.
But the best thing about gifts, as we all know, is their inefficiency.
When someone shops for themselves, they might buy some things on impulse that they don't really need - and that's great - but for the most part they're buying what best fits whatever needs they have.
Gifts, on the other hand, are bought for one person by someone else who usually has only a vague idea of what the first person needs. And they might not even have any needs at all: it might just be Christmas, a time for showing how much you love someone by lining our pockets! [Gestures expansively]
Chances are the recipient would never have bought that gift themselves and doesn't really want it. Or they might even already have it - the Holy Grail!
But today, I'd like to urge you to think differently about what it is that we do.
Let's think outside the box for a moment. What can we do to take that magical inefficiency of gift-giving and replicate it at other times of the year? After all, we all know that Christmas only lasts from August until Boxing Day!
Most obviously, we could think about new occasions for gift-giving, taking inspiration from the greeting cards sector. "Congratulations on passing your driving theory test!" Hello Barry, hello Gill! [Waves to people in room].
For example, what about an "anti-versary": another anniversary at the half-way point between the last and the next - the furthest point from being able to express your love again. Oh, my heart-strings! [Clutches breast]
But let's not limit ourselves to gift-giving. What about playing on people's hopes and dreams like the lottery does - is Andrew in the room? [Scans room] Oh no, that's right, he's spending Christmas in the Azores. Nevermind.
What do I mean? Imagine a day - lucky Friday, say, or super Saturday - where customers are given the chance to swap the thing they want to buy for a mystery alternative that might be worth a lot more or - most likely [winks] - might be some old stock we want to get rid of!
Who could pass that up, eh?
Subscription services, bundling, built-in obsolescence - these are just the tip of the diamond. So let's eat, drink and be merry, but let's not forget this festive season what we're all about: convincing people to leave their brains at the door and their money in our tills!
Merry Christmas everyone!
[Seriously though: Merry Christmas! :)]