As we find ourselves inching closer to the final stretch of the holiday season, shoppers are scrambling to find those perfect gifts for loved ones. Occasionally, before all can be merry and bright, the shopping search can be stressful and frustrating. This is where small businesses can swoop in and make all the difference for holiday shoppers in transforming the experience.
When customers shop in store, businesses can create a memorable experience and establish a genuine personal connection that can’t be achieved while shopping online. Here are five ways to bring holiday cheer once again to customers to create a successful December shopping experience:
- Provide impeccable customer service
Kindness and compassion should always be at the heart of each holiday season, and the holiday shopping experience should be no different. Customers remember the stores where employees treat them like family. Beyond the notable friendly and helpful staff, consider what extra touches your store can bring to each guest that reminds them of the quality of customer service your team provides. Try to remember regular customers by name, assist them in finding the perfect gifts by asking for details on who they may be shopping for, provide product samples if they’re hesitant to commit, and bring on that free gift wrapping.
- Personalize the shopping experience
Consider hosting VIP-only sales or shopping events. This could include opening the store early or closing late for VIP customers who sign up for a customized shopping experience in the store. Let the VIP invite a small group of friends and be prepared with a sign that welcomes them by name as well as with treats to share. To attract even more VIPs who may not be able to commit to a specific time, simply having special discounts for these loyal customers during the entire month can entice them back for a visit to your store. Overall, the goal is to make every customer, even if it’s their first time in the store, feel like a special guest. Bring opportunities to make every visitor feel seen and important. Make a wall display that lets customers write something they’re grateful for this holiday season to display, help them sign up for your email list, and remind them of upcoming promotions so they will jump at the chance to return.
- Use social media to highlight in-store exclusives
Social media posts are great for reminding customers of daily deals and promotions that can be found both in store and online, but don’t be afraid to take pictures of your seasonal displays and proudly show off the ambiance that can only come from visiting the store. Is there certain merchandise that flies off the shelf so quickly that it can only be purchased in person? Are certain daily deals offered for in store shoppers only? Perhaps shopping in the actual store can provide customers with a bounceback offer valid for their next return. While shopping online is certainly convenient, remind shoppers why the personal touch of shopping in person can be even more beneficial in the long run.
- Partner with other stores
Holiday shoppers are more than likely going to need to visit multiple stores. You can help them have a more meaningful experience by partnering up with other local shops to create cross-promotional offers. If you want to be even more festive, consider a scavenger hunt that requires visits to multiple stores with a promotion or prize at the end. Multiple stores can also join together in creating a holiday bundle that includes a bestseller from each store. These kinds of deals will help drive traffic to all of the nearby businesses and help every storefront be successful during the shopping season.
- Build relationships
When it feels like a brand truly listens to and values its customers, it creates a lasting relationship. Take feedback from customers, notice trends in sales to restock important items, send out birthday emails to frequent shoppers, and express gratitude with every person’s visit. Customers appreciate transparency and honesty in their shopping experience as well, and the trust you establish will help you create a loyal following of shoppers. As busy as everyone is, sending handwritten cards to your VIP customers to show your appreciation will remind them of how important they are to you!
In the same way that the holidays are a time to relax with loved ones, the prior shopping experience should be able to attract just as much joy and care for everyone involved. While shoppers are always hoping for convenience, it’s the true connection that only an in store shopping experience can bring that will transform their holiday shopping experience. Let’s make it a memorable one!