A popular Christmas tune tells us this season is “the most wonderful time of the year.” However, shopping for the perfect gift can be time-consuming and somewhat stressful. Offering specialized services and limited-time offers that help shoppers save time and money are always appreciated. Retailers who reward customers for their patronage are in a better position to generate repeat business and finish the year on a positive note. Consumers are optimistic and willing to spend more this holiday season than in the previous year. The National Retail Federation projects holiday sales to increase 3.8 percent to 4.2 percent. These percentages are somewhat higher than the 3.7 percent average for the past five years. NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz says, “Job growth and high wages mean there’s more money in families’ pockets, so we see both the willingness and ability to spend this holiday season.”
While dozens of large retail chains are closing their doors every day, many smaller retailers are thriving. Why? They are nimble and can respond quickly to the changing demands of their customers. These retailers “get it” and understand how to create exceptional experiences. Rewarding your customers doesn’t have to break the bank. Your business may already offer services or discounts, so all you need to do is give them a new twist for the holidays.
Free Shipping or Delivery
Amazon has raised the bar for fast, efficient delivery. The reward is even better if you’re an Amazon Prime member—delivery is free. However, Ace is also touting same-day delivery by “real people from your neighborhood store.” The idea of placing orders online for in-store pickup is relatively standard, but Ace has expanded the options it offers customers to make shopping easier. Offering home delivery may require you to assign new responsibilities to your staff, so training is essential. Home improvement retailers who are members of a co-op or franchise may already have a process in place to ensure deliveries go smoothly. Consider decorating the exterior of your truck for the holidays to make it stand out from the crowd and look festive.
Provide Holiday Discounts
Offering discounts is nothing new. It’s a common practice for every business. However, offering discounts can be problematic if the customer has to work hard to figure them out, or if they are only provided to a handful of people. Taking discounts right off the purchase price so customers can quickly see how much money they are saving is a popular idea. This approach works best for a select group of items versus everything in the store. You can also offer a dollar amount of savings on a specific product category. For example, power tools or kitchen appliances. Try something different for the holidays. When customers make a purchase, ask them to pull a gift tag from a beautifully decorated box to receive a “surprise gift” discount ranging from 5 to 25 percent. Everyone will feel like a winner, and a few shoppers will receive a significant discount to make them even happier.
Gift a Charity with a Donation
In addition to buying gifts, the holidays remind us of the importance of giving to the less fortunate. Businesses that make charitable gifts with purchase give shoppers personal reasons to become loyal customers. One of the most famous examples of charitable giving is Toms Shoes. The business gives away a pair of shoes for every purchased pair. The Company Store gives blankets to homeless children around the country. Warby Parker Glasses donates funds to non-profits to cover the cost of glasses for someone in need. To set up a charitable gift program during the holidays, decide if you want to donate a straight dollar amount or a percentage of sales. Give customers an option of several charities that can be the recipient of their donations. Keep in mind; it’s easier for customers to understand dollar amounts than percentages.
Offer Free Gift Wrapping
Wrapping gifts can be a daunting task when you’re already stressed out from holiday shopping.Offering free gift wrapping is a way to make customers feel special and also reward them for shopping in your store.The area dedicated to gift wrapping should have an overhead sign that is visible to customers. Give customers the option to enjoy a warm beverage while they wait, or to continue shopping and pick up their package(s) within a specified time. When things get hectic, you should add more staff to the area to avoid long lines and prevent upsetting customers. Why not decorate the space like the North pole or a Christmas scene and ask the staff to dress in costumes, holiday sweaters, or bright colors?
Christmas is only a few weeks away, so the sooner you get started, the better your results. These suggestions are just a few ideas to help you spruce up your business to increase holiday sales.