Winning the Holidays 2018: Essential Tips For Retailers

Thanksgiving boasts many bells and whistles all on its own, but retailers know that the real event trails closely behind turkey day. If you haven’t yet devised a plan for your store, it’s not too late to take advantage of the incredible opportunity that the holiday shopping season offers your business, starting with Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM). This year, Black Friday e-commerce alone is projected to increase by 15.31% year-over-year to $5.80 billion. To put that into perspective, later this month, Black Friday is poised to kick off a shopping season responsible for 30% of all sales for the entire year.

Here are a few tips to help you make the very most of the shopping madness that famously characterizes the holiday shopping season.

First, have an e-commerce strategy that includes something similar to what Blenders Eyewear did last year. FYI, they multiplied their Black Friday e-commerce sales and holiday revenue by 10, and are expected to quadruple it this year:

  • Create hype around the “count down” by campaigning with ads and social media posts. Empower your associates to connect with new and repeat customers to promote holiday sales via email & text. Harness the relationships your associates have built with customers to get them back into your store. Go one step further by taking up space in the physical world via in-store signage, flyers, etc.
  • Consider offering pre holiday deals and specials in the lead up to Christmas, as well as post holiday boxing week sales. This is a great way to clear out old stock while simultaneously creating an enduring buzz.
  • Leak sneak peaks at enticing deals that will be offered throughout the course of the holiday shopping season in order to foster a sense of urgency and instill shoppers with an understanding of your “limited time best offer.” Make it all about the attractive offer.
  • Extend your promo strategy across websites and into social influencer territory if possible, in order to maximize sales.
  • Spread the word on holiday deals for last-minute shoppers, emphasizing any shipping and gift wrapping services that really up the convenience factor for would-be customers.

Second, deliver an extra dose of customer service excellence both on and offline:

  • Get your store in tiptop shape. The better it looks and the easier it is to navigate, the more likely it is to entice walk-ins on the day of, and the longer keep people will stay and browse for deals, whether they walked in off the street or had words with an associate online beforehand. Organize your stock, and clearly delineate what’s on sale with clear, visually stimulating signage.
  • Make sure your in-store associates are ready for this busiest of times. They should be very accessible to customers, and offer quick, informed, courteous responses, even if a customer is a rude, impatient, or frustrating personality—not uncommon during holiday sales frenzies.
  • Set yourself apart from your competitors by ensuring your associates are available and present online to respond to customer questions in real time as they surf and search special holiday deals on your website. The human touch works in your favor, keeping customers on your site, satisfying any unique requests they may have, and ultimately going a long way toward securing the sale.
  • Be sure your associates are capable of taking advantage of omnichannel clienteling to quickly gain insight on repeat customers and use it to personalize the shopping experience, thus creating a one-on-one feel, even amid your highly trafficked holiday sale.
  • Test your website to be sure it can handle the upsurge in traffic that is likely with large, frequented holiday sales.

The bottom line is that while big sales require big promo, the big pay-off extends far beyond the scope of the sale, and even beyond the scope of the holiday season. When done right, your holiday buzz will serve to raise your store’s profile, both on and offline, creating a long-term stir around your brand that will survive so long as you keep up with CX-focused, associate-driven, omnichannel strategies. So beyond trying to simply capture a share of sales in the weeks before Christmas, for example, create and advertise in this way for every major shopping event of the year using the above tactics. You and your team of associates can learn so much from these busiest of shopping days, which can in turn help boost ROI year-round.