As vines of holiday lights begin to make their climb, small retailers are considering the rise in sales during the year’s busiest shopping period. With locally-owned small retailers earning an estimated 50 percent or more of annual revenues during the holiday shopping season, a few simple steps can optimize results and boost sales.
5 Ideas For Appealing To Shoppers With Holiday Magic
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, nearly 50 percent of shoppers reported that the #1 thing retailers can do to improve the shopping experience is to provide easier checkout. This is a particularly heightened challenge during the holidays. Traffic jams at the register can be very frustrating, especially for shoppers with just a few items. Cash register gridlock can be eased by using an iPad POS, allowing checkout to take place almost anywhere in the store.
Another way for retailers to accommodate customers is to help them score a great gift idea in the least amount of time. Holiday shoppers often feel overwhelmed and exhausted from shopping. Creating gift baskets enables retailers to bring convenience to shoppers who are at a loss for gift ideas. An appealing combination of products relieves customers of the time and effort it would take for them to assemble the same number of gifts. It also provides merchants with the opportunity to showcase items they want to spotlight.
Finally, expanding store hours and offering discounts on non-seasonal items that need to be moved to create more room for the holiday spirit can provide mutual benefits to shoppers and retailers alike.
Create an Experience
It has become quite clear that reports of the demise of brick-and-mortar stores have been greatly exaggerated. Though Mark Twain probably did not have the internet in mind when he made this statement about his own passing, it is good news to those small businesses with storefronts: they are more relevant today than ever before. Even large online brands are beginning to open more traditional storefronts. Emerging out of the maturing digital era is the role of stores serving as destinations. As a recent Forbes article observed, “Stores will offer new services alongside products; for instance, sporting goods stores will sell golf clubs and analyze your swing.” Creating a holiday-rich atmosphere in your store can be as simple as offering free hot cocoa. Strategically placing POP displays around or near a beverage table is another path to enriching the shopping experience. Adding a rich loop of holiday music not only fills the ears, but also elevates mood leading to the jingle of cash registers.
Make Displays Pop
With holiday sales projected to increase 3.5-4 percent above last year, now is the time to make those windows sparkle and your presence shine. Let your unlimited creativity run wild while designing displays that showcase certain items. For instance, telling a story has been shown to be particularly effective. The idea aims to create a theme. Think snowflakes and winter wonderland, hot chocolate and cookies by the fireplace, nutcrackers, sleds, penguins and icicles; the list is virtually limitless. Also, consider that POP displays do not always need to be located near the registers. If you sell food products, consider providing free samples. A toy store could have an employee dressed in holiday attire—for example, as an elf—encouraging children to play with a featured item. The idea is to promote an interactive experience for shoppers, while adding dimension to your display. Engaging shoppers with eye-popping displays—combined with creating an interactive experience—reinforces a retailer’s relevance and reputation.
Provide Gift Wrapping
While nearly two-thirds of shoppers claim to enjoy holiday shopping, many would prefer to avoid as much wrapping as they possibly can. In a survey conducted by Scotch brand
tapes, approximately 20 percent of Americans reported that wrapping presents was worse than cleaning house, and another 14 percent said it was worse than shoveling snow. Providing your shoppers with convenient wrapping services or decorative holiday gift bags can be a gift to them and a boost to your holiday revenues.
Offer the Unique
Holiday shoppers tend to feel a sense of urgency. Time is in short supply and schedules become increasingly hectic during this time of year. Offering unique items and service that differentiates a retailer’s brand can quickly motivate customers to make a purchase—and possibly even convert them to long-term clientele. Limited edition collectibles or one-of-a-kind items are appealing to shoppers searching for that distinctive gift. Spotlighting locally produced goods, crafts, music or art also serves to shine a light on a merchant’s brand that can reinforce an exceptional experience and create repeat customers.
Boosting sales does not require the magic of marketing elves. As the days grow colder and the intensity of the competition heats up, merchants can fan the flames of their own revenues by enhancing the holiday shopping experience. With just a few easy adjustments, retailers can be prepared for the holidays and attract new customers.