For many retailers this holiday season may well represent up to 50% of what their business will do all year. That being the case, we recently polled some of our readers and asked them what they do to separate themselves from the pack when it comes to this all-important time of the year. We’ve pulled the best suggestions for your consumption here.
• With over 40% of all shoppers expected to start their holiday shopping right around Halloween, it is never too early to start offering holiday incentives. Again, engaging the customer while in-store will allow you to zero in on holiday needs for the next two months.
• With gift cards expected to be a hot item again this year, several of those we polled said they are planning to dress up their gift cards with special boxes or envelopes to make them more attractive to the buyer. The philosophy here is, everyone likes to get a gift card but not everyone likes to buy them due to their impersonal nature. The pretty box or decorative envelope adds a more personal touch and makes these cards a more likely purchase.
• Be aware of what your competitors are doing and what they are offering. Your customers are shopping all over the map these days, multiple channels and from discount to luxury stores, taking in a lot of what is going on out there. Take a look around at what’s working and what’s not. Every advantage counts and the retail world is getting very creative. Get out there and see for yourself. When in doubt, look about.
• Don’t forget the holiday shopper will also be taking the time out to buy a little something for themselves. A recent stat we eyed claims the average consumer will be spending about $100 on themselves this year. This equates to around 9% of their expected total holiday shop. Make the “buy yourself a little something” sell part of your holiday strategy. Offering savings on a second item purchase can work wonders here as well.
• If you are using an e-mail marketing campaign, begin deploying it now. With Halloween just having passed, the holiday season is in full swing. Consumers are more prepared for the holiday bargain hunt in the early fall so blast away. As we cited in the earlier point, with over 40% of consumers beginning their holiday shopping now, the timing of your e-mail marketing campaign is critical.
• Speaking of Cyberspace – one idea that has been working wonders online is giving consumers a 2-5% discount on the total amount they spend. The more they spend, the more they save. Seems as though the cyber-shopping crowd loves a deal a much as the in-store shoppers, and several retailers have told us this method has resulted in a solid increase in online sales.
• Lastly, There is a bit of a learning curve built-in to the purchase of a digital camera and when that digicam is being purchased as a gift the retailer is losing out on that direct customer contact. Several retailers we spoke with told us it was important to note that when a camera is being purchased as a gift to include something like coupons for free prints or perhaps a reminder that the store offers digital imaging classes – generally something that ensures that the receiver of the gift is aware of where the camera was purchased and that the locations are offering additional digital services.
Happy Holiday Selling Season!