During this final holiday shopping sprint it’s easy to fall behind. 60% of consumers from a recent poll indicated that they still have half (or more than half) of their holiday shopping remaining. This has led to the rise of “Super Saturday” this past weekend, or the last Saturday before Christmas Eve, which is rivaling Black Friday in sales, and these last-minute sales will continue to flow all week long. So although your holiday spirit might be waning, and you continue to grow weary, don’t break out the eggnog quite yet. The NRF estimates that 40% of the season’s sales happen within these final 10 days. So, keep focused on promotion efforts, as many brands will be clamoring for their share of this pie!
Experts believe that consumers have been holding out for steeper discounts, before deciding to make their holiday purchases. Discounts have been the main driver of sales, and were up 23% in the heart of the season. This will continue to be true in the final days, but despite projected increases in ecommerce this year, now is the perfect opportunity for brick-and-mortar to make a comeback. Many online retailers’ cut-off for shipping in time for the holidays has passed (and will continue to every day), creating a great opportunity for local businesses to provide value.
To help you prepare, we’ve created and compiled these ways to make the most of these precious few remaining days!
Make the Rest of Their Prep Easier
This time of year can be inherently hectic, especially for the frenzied last-minute shoppers. Businesses who go to extra lengths to make life easier for them, even after they make a purchase will undoubtedly gain big points in their books. Your job might end with their purchase, but theirs doesn’t. Help them get one step closer to holiday-ready by offering complimentary giftwrapping services.
Or, if your employees don’t have the bandwidth, try setting up a DIY station, stocked with all the materials they’d need to wrap their newly-purchased gifts themselves. Big brands, like Buy Buy Baby, have garnered customer loyalty with such stations available across locations. They also enjoy the free advertising that goes along with branded boxes and paper.
Finally, if you’re unable to devote time or space in the ways outlined above, then you can still try providing them with free gift wrap, tissue paper, gift bags, and ribbons that bear your business’s name. As increasingly more brands start charging for previously-free gift boxes, this could be a distinguishing factor that won’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Instead of trying to compete with the steep discounts offered by ecommerce giants, try offering a small gift instead. This could be samples of other products, or travel size portions of products. This can help them cross stocking stuffers off their list!
Help Keep Customers’ Children Entertained
Plan something for your smallest shoppers – children. Whether a crafting opportunity (Make your own ornament, or decorations, or something that ties in directly with your business!). This will also help free up their parents to peruse your products and services, without having to worry about wrangling bored kids.
Or, provide a “Kid’s Corner” with some activities, such as puzzles, coloring books, and crafts that can keep them occupied on their own while their parents peruse gift ideas.
Hire someone to play Santa, and interact with customers. Be sure to take to have someone on hand to snap photos, or if your business has enough space, you could also rent a photobooth to create lasting memories for customers.
Offer customers some sweet treats, by putting out cookies, doughnuts, or any other seasonal specialties that might reenergize them after a long day of shopping. Hot tea, coffee, and hot chocolate
Rethink Your Store Layout
This made our last-minute holiday marketing idea list last year as well, but is worth mentioning again: VIP shopping hours. Invite members from your loyalty program, email subscribers, or your top customers and VIP’s to avoid the masses and shop during a dedicated time. Try opening an hour earlier, staying open extra late, or even closing the shop to the public during the lunch hour, to allow these shoppers time and space to peruse your offerings, without feeling overwhelmed. Be sure to utilize email and text messaging to get the word out to this valued group of consumers. You might even want to make personal shoppers available, or sweeten the experience in other ways.
Organize products and services by different price points to make it easier for them to find what they need and stay within budget. This way, they can zero in on the best one for their budgets. Additionally, many workplaces and families enforce a strict price limit for gifts, so this will help them find the perfect gift, without fear of violating these terms.
Curate easy products by gift giving scenario: Workplace White Elephant; Extended-Family Secret Santa; Great Gifts for Grandma, etc. This will help them to easily check things off their gift list, which always makes for a happy customer!
Bundle products and services into special holiday gift sets. Again, this helps give them a creative edge at a time when that might otherwise be in short supply! It also allows you to offer more sustainable discounts to help capture more dealseekers. Instead of being forced to deeply discount each product, you can offer a gift set, where each item is slightly discounted, but you can still boast about the savings (and display it prominently, so they get excited about it!). When done correctly, this can be a real win-win for your business and the customer.
Set yourself up for success in 2017 with Holiday Shoppers
Holiday shopping will inevitably prompt many new first-time customers to browse your offerings, and hopefully transact. However, in the frenzy of the season, their shopping experiences tend to blur together, so why not lay the groundwork for their repeat business in the new year?
Try including coupons that are eligible for use in the new year. This will prompt them to come back and use them. We always suggest setting an expiration date as well, but try to set a wide enough timeframe where they’ll be able to use it. Or, you can provide a coupon for the trial of new products to be redeemed in new year.
Plan a new customer event for this group in late January in order to give them a sneak peek of new product lines that will be coming soon. This will help get them in the door, make them feel valued and motivate them to be a repeat customer.