Five Things Retailers Should Know for the Holidays
Just in time for Small Business Saturday, here are five things to to help ensure a successful holiday retail season. Happy selling!
1. Don’t forget to engage shoppers’ senses
When you engage shoppers’ senses, you tap into positive emotions and feelings. When shoppers feel good, they buy more. Try to engage the five senses: sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch. Consider setting up a station with free coffee or warm spiced cider for shoppers. Or put out a candy bowl with red, green and silver chocolate kisses and keep it stocked. Make sure you have warm holiday lighting that makes people feel cozy. A subtle holiday smell such as cinnamon or vanilla may also help – just don’t overdo it with overpowering scents, as some people are allergic.
2. Set up “last minute gift” displays
As we get closer to December 25th, shoppers may be running out of ideas for hard-to-buy-for family and friends. Set up a “last minute” or “hard-to-buy-for” gift display. We did this with great success when my husband and I ran a gift gallery. We stocked the display with small items that don’t take up much space. All were modestly priced. Some had pre-wrapped gift boxes and gift bags right there — so that it’s easy for the buyer to purchase them and give them. Put the display near the cash registers or on the aisles where they will serve as impulse buys (and store personnel can keep an eye on the items, too, if they are easily pocketable). I’ve seen this done effectively in all kinds of retail: hardware stores, gas stations, auto parts stores, craft stores – even hair salons and spas.
3. Double check stock levels
Have a really good handle on your inventory levels, and find out whether it will be possible to restock popular items before the holiday season is over. Take some time to go over everything now before the biggest rush starts. The last thing you want to be doing is rooting around in the stock room or spending ten minutes looking up your records, while the line at the register is getting longer and longer. Have that information at your fingertips so you can respond quickly and tell people whether you expect any more of the item in, and when. And if restocking is possible, then take regular inventory and get your orders in fast. “Tempus fugit” at this time of year.
4. Be aware of local promotions and events
Is your community one of the 40+ offering special free parking on Small Business Saturday? Is the local chamber of commerce or city holding special events? Be aware of what is taking place around you. Ask around so you know what to expect.
For instance, our local community holds a candlelight walk every year. Our first year in business we weren’t able to take full advantage because we hadn’t checked on the agenda of activities that evening. Another year our small town held a store decoration contest and stores got lots of publicity, but we had to scramble to take advantage of it because we found out late.
5. Don’t forget social media channels
A good way to encourage people to come to your store is to offer a “flash” special for a day and publicize it on your Facebook Page or Twitter. It only takes a few minutes to come up with it, and update your social channels.
If you normally handle social media yourself, and don’t feel you have time to deal with it during peak shopping days such as Small Business Saturday, try to enlist a social-savvy friend or family member to help. Have that person take instructions on what to write and do, and carry it out for you while you are dealing with customers in person.
Remember, being prepared will help you get through the holiday season successfully and with your sanity intact. Try to anticipate EVERYTHING.
Tags: Business Growth, Customer Convenience