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Quick Tips to Get Your Holiday Retail Strategy in Shape

The holidays have arrived. And while planning for Black Friday and Cyber Monday are vital to your retail success, ensuring that all aspects of your retail operation are prepared for the holiday season is just as important.

To get your strategy in shape, we’ve put together some exercises to help you work out your holiday retail strategy.

#1 – Look at Your Store with New Eyes

It is easy to look at something every day and eventually quit seeing it, but a new customer will notice those things as soon as they walk in.

Before evaluating your holiday plan, re-evaluate your current setting. Do your shelves need dusting? How about the cable that’s hanging behind the TV that can easily be hidden? These are simple to fix and can give your business a leg up against the competition. This prepares you for your next exercise...

#2 – Store Layout Is Key

You know what will be popular and what your customers want, so spread these products out!

Not only does this increase more buying potential, but it will decrease overcrowding in high-traffic areas. Don’t be afraid to dress things up and have fun. Thanksgiving will be over and your customers will be in the holiday mood! Create a celebratory environment, with music, hot chocolate, cookies and more. Not only does this make your customers happy as they shop, but it will bring them back next year to see what you do then!

#3 – The Service Advantage

Small businesses have the advantage of offering personal attention and providing extra support—this is an even greater area to focus on during the busier holiday season.

Customers are less likely to have buyer’s remorse if they trust you and feel valued. Use this to your advantage by offering something like an easy return policy, discounts on installation or something that helps them feel appreciated. Customer service is so vital to a thriving business. One negative experience can hurt your reputation. Go above and beyond in all situations to deliver the best possible customer engagement.

#4 – Educate and Train Employees—Including Seasonal Help

Your employees deliver the service advantage that you pride yourself on.

Make sure everyone is well versed in your store and products. Your cashiers should be able to answer questions, or find out whom to quickly ask about the newest products or prices. And make sure your employees are recognizable. Nothing is more embarrassing to a customer than asking someone for help that doesn't even work there. Something as simple as a prominent nametag let's your customer know who can help them.

#5 – Watch Your Time

Do your customers know your Black Friday & holiday shopping hours?

Sounds simple enough, but have you updated everything you possibly can? Facebook? Business signage? What about a POS flier for your current customers? The last thing you need is to open early to a dead store. Or worse yet, upset a customer who comes in late to find you aren’t even open.

#6 – Engage Your Customers

The brick and mortar advantage is you have the products for the customers to see, touch and experience.

Are you taking advantage of this by displaying your products to their full potential? It's easy to buy a speaker or remote online but what about connecting your customers’ own music to a Bluetooth speakers so they can hear its clarity? Let them experience your products and see why they need to take them home.

# 7 – Reward Loyalty

It takes more time and money to acquire new customers, especially during the holiday season, than to benefit from your existing customers.

How are your marketing to your regular customers? Discounts? Loyalty programs? Sneak Peeks? Establish these benefits now and begin building anticipation for your customers. This is also the ideal place to incorporate social media. Use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to connect to your customers. Your regular customers are apt to “like and share” or retweet your announcements and special deals, giving you valuable free advertisement.

Pro Tip: Offer free shipping promotions. Your customers will be glad they can save on shipping but still take advantage of your great Cyber Monday offerings!

#8 – Gift Cards Galore

Did you know 72% of customers will spend more than the value of a gift card and on average they will spend 20% more than their gift card value?

Not only do gift cards instantly make your business money, but they are an advertisement and encourage another person to walk into your store or visit your website. Simplify the gift card process. Create simple signage that outlines key info about purchasing or using gift cards in store or online. The easier you can make the customer experience, the happier they will be.

#9 – Bundle Up

Bundles are a convenient way for your customers to have an all-in-one gift this holiday season.

You can create different bundles for wireless devices, home theater enthusiasts, gadget gurus and more, all at different price points. They are also a good way to introduce customers to new products they may not buy otherwise, encouraging future purchases.

#10 – Later Add-Ons

We know you are already adding on sales, but do you include incentive for your customer to come to you for later add-ons?

That new HDTV and mount might need an HDMI cable after it’s installed. Why not include a coupon at checkout or get their email address for a follow up? You could also preview upcoming accessories that will expand upon their experience with a product. Encourage customers to follow you on social media to stay up-to-date on upcoming releases. Always plant the seeds for customers to return.

Remember Black Friday is only one day in the holiday season.

You need to be continually developing new campaigns and ideas to get customers coming back.