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  • Writer's pictureSBDC @ JCC

Bringing in the Customers this Holiday

by Jennifer Wedzik, Disaster Business Advisor

The holiday season is here - are you ready? We are here to help you bring in those customers this Christmas season. What makes you unique? Some of the ways your local store might stand out include: convenience, knowledgeable staff, trustworthy, personal service, and good value. Here some ideas to get you started in thinking how you can make your strengths shine this holiday:

1) Location and Convenience. Think about your location and how you are advertising to your local car and foot traffic. This looks different for different retail shops and restaurants, but it may be as simple an eye catching window display, extra signage (outside and inside), or someone handing out coupons at the corner. Think about busy foot traffic times and gear up for extended shopping hours. Work with your retail neighbors and community to promote together. Make sure you are open extra hours during special shopping days - Small Business Saturday, Super Saturday (Saturday before Christmas), and local tree lighting or other holiday community events. Don't ignore other convenience factors customers may want like BOPIS (Buy Online (or phone) and Pick-up In Store). According to a recent Shopify survey, 59% of consumers are interested in BOPIS-type shopping options. This extra bit of convenience is really important to holiday shoppers.

2) Leverage your reputation. Share knowledge with social media followers and in person shoppers. Customers want to know they can trust you. Be aware of your online and local reputation. If you are on Facebook or other social media, monitor your store's comments and reviews. Make sure correct hours and sales are promoted online and in-store. Did you now that people could be reviewing your company even if you aren't "online"? They could be posting about you on Google, social media, and other platforms. Google your business regularly - and know what people are saying.

3) Sell and promote in more than one way. Physical stores need to have some online presence - I am not saying it has to be a website - just an online presence. It could be social media, a simple online "store" (like Facebook or Square), Google My Business page, or marketplace store (like Ebay or Etsy). If you use social media to promote your sales, think about using a scheduler and set a release days/times and promotion for the month at beginning of the December (less for you to manage later when busy). We strongly encourage all local business to have a Google My Business account. It's really easy and it ensures you have control over Google reviews, allows people to quickly see your location, hours,and phone number, and encourages customers to visit your store. There are lots of simple, great "online" options to consider - get yourself out there!

4) Personal Service. This is one of the main reasons people walk into your door. Make sure your staff are friendly and helpful. Make your returns easy. Consider offering value-add services like gift wrapping, shipping, assembly, or delivery (yes! local delivery option is hot option this Christmas).

5) Promotions. Email and social media are your friend- make sure you are promoting your sales on them. Create a group of products (bundle), or free gift with purchase. A survey from Emerald Insight, found that bundle and free gift offerings increase the perceived value of purchase. These type of promotions also have an impact on customer return rates.

6) Create an event or experience. Maybe have a special drawing, Santa letter drop, host a fundraiser event for a local charity, or plan an event with local performer or choir. Don't forget those in-store festive decorations, food, and music! Those small touches in your store mean a lot to adding to customer's experience.

7) Gift Cards. Data from Statista found that gift cards were the most popular gift option in 2020, with almost half of shoppers intending to buy them. Multiple studies have found that customers who redeem their gift card spend more than the card amount. Gift cards remind the customer to come back in and check you out later. If you already offer them, don't forget about promoting gift card sales online and in store to customers.

Tight for time right now? Pick one idea to implement and try this year. Need help implementing one of these strategies? Your local JCC SBDC office is here to help!



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