Getting customers into your store is a vital part of increasing Christmas sales. But, how do you compete with other stores for each shopper’s attention and December bonuses? With a little creativity and effort, that’s how.
“For retailers, there’s only one vision that matters during the Christmas season; the sales graph,” says Susan Ward, founder of Bloom Consulting Group.
“And as the Christmas holiday season is make or break time for many small businesses, the overwhelming question is how to get more Christmas sales and make that graph climb as steeply as possible.”
DID YOU KNOW?
20% to 40% of annual sales for small and medium-sized retail businesses occur in the last two months of the year. But, according to Ryan Pinkham, Associate Director of Demand Generation at SmartBear Software, it may be familiar faces you should focus on. “While most businesses will be focused on reaching new customers throughout the holiday season, it’s important to also pay attention to the people who know you best — your existing customers. These are the people who will visit your store throughout the holiday months and are also the people who will recommend you to their own friends and family.”
5 Ways to increase your Christmas sales
There’s no better time to connect with your customers and to raise awareness of your business than the festive season. It’s also the time of year that could determine whether your business ends the year on a high note.
“So, what are you doing to make sure you stay in touch, stay top of mind, and stay on top of sales this holiday season?” asks Carolyn Higgins, president and founder of Fortune Marketing Company.
Here are five tips to get you festive retail rush ready:
- Cash in on impulse shopping
It could be something in the air or the Christmas bonus, but during the holidays, customers are more prone to impulse buys, susceptible to upsells, and inclined to cross-selling efforts. This is good news if add-on sales and upgrades aren’t normally a big focus for you. The festive season is a great time to see if you can introduce a new angle to your sales strategy.
Just don’t solely focus on Christmas-themed or gift items, advises Anna Gervai, Digital & Retail Marketing Manager at Petware Limited. “Your essentials and best-sellers make ideal impulse items as well.”
She advises displaying these items on, beside or behind your counter as last-minute easy add-ons and impulse buys for your staff to suggest to customers when they pay for their items.
- Create exceptional customer experiences
The year-round focus on efficiently running the cash register, operating card machines, stocking shelves and keeping the floor clean are important, especially during the festive retail rush, but one critical element tops them all: Customer-centric service.
Can your employees identify what a customer needs and wants, then match those needs to a selection of products, and show them the value in their options?
“Empower your sales associates to interact with your customers – don’t overwhelm them with housekeeping projects, let them put your customers first. Set the expectation that customers come first, always,” says Nick Stagge, VP of marketing at ExpertVoice.
- Get smarter about the location of baskets
This is such a simple yet powerful addition to your store. By strategically placing baskets in isles and not just at the entrance to your store, you’re encouraging people who have come in for one or two items (and therefore didn’t take a basket initially) to increase their spend through the convenience of picking up a basket once they’ve started shopping.
“One US study found shoppers spent 25% more and up to 15 minutes longer in store after baskets were introduced,” says Gervai.
Ensure you customers never have to stop shopping because their hands are full by placing a few shopping baskets in a few key locations, in addition to the entrance of your store.
- Put up interactive displays
Did you know that customers will pay more for items that they can see and touch? This is great news for bricks and mortar retailers, and gives you an edge over online competitors. The research, which was conducted by CalTech, concluded that the chances of customers spending more on products increased the longer they could interact with the item.
“You should always invite your customers to get familiar with your products by touching them. Make sure that your displays facilitate product interaction,” suggests Humanity’s David Galic. “Try to tailor your visual merchandising plan towards making it very inviting for your customers to take the products into their hands and get a good look at them.”
- Turn holiday shoppers into regulars
December’s a great time to launch a loyalty programme to incentivise your new and returning customers.
Over 80% percent of customers buy more products from businesses who offer a loyalty programme to which they belong, research has found. “Loyalty programs make customers feel wanted, special and generally happier to shop at your store,” says Galic.
But what converts customers from visitors to regulars is your service. “Amazing service takes a bit of effort and creative positivity, but it’s free. It drives word of mouth. Be amazing, and your customers will tell their friends about it,” says Basil O’Hagan is the founder of O’Hagan’s and The Brazen Head.
“It creates regular customers. If someone has a great experience at your business, they want to have it again, so they keep coming back.”
DO YOU WANT TO BOOST CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND DRIVE LOYALTY?
Talk to Sureswipe about a cost-effective Loyalty programme. We can assist in customer retention through a platform that helps you communicate directly with customers through email and SMS. Call 0860 200 111 or fill in your details here and we’ll call you.