There’s just something about shopping in a brick-and-mortar store that people love this time of year. Whether it’s the holiday music, lights, decorations, or the general festive cheer that seems to float through the air, people enjoy spending time with loved ones around the holidays. This often means dinner and a movie – with a little holiday shopping thrown in for good measure.
Is your store ready to handle the holiday rush? This year may be a little different than years in the past, but the following seven tips still apply and can help everyone ring in the holiday cheer!
Music, Decorations, Lighting
The in-store holiday experience is all about the atmosphere. Make sure your location is appropriately outfitted with the right music, lighting, and holiday decorations. There’s no need to go overboard; a little effort in this area can go a long way in making your customers feel warm and welcome.
Support Your Local Retailers
Having good relationships with fellow local retailers often means taking care of each other around the holidays. Consider teaming up with your local theater, restaurant, or specialty shop to offer in-store discounts on key products and services. Chances are, they will in turn do the same for your business.
Support Your Community
The holidays are a season of giving. Give back to your local community – and make the most of shopper’s generosity this time of year – by hosting a local food drive donation box, toy drive collection, or monetary donations at the register for a good cause. Shoppers like to support local retailers who also support the community – and not just their own bottom lines.
Speaking of a Warm Welcome
If you’re in a cold northern climate, consider offering your customers coffee, tea, or even a plate of sweet treats when they enter the door. If you’re a restaurant or in the food business, offer taste samples or complimentary drinks and tastings. This small gesture will help shake the cold off, making buyers more likely to linger just a little longer.
Labor is an issue in all industries, but especially in retail. You still need to be ready in high traffic times with enough staff on hand. Scheduling enough team members to keep long lines moving quickly will help keep stress levels down for everyone. It's also a theft deterrent, not something you want to think of but is a reality. Be sure your staff works the line by asking questions, scanning items, and upselling. If you're lucky enough to have enough staff in the store, a great perk is to offer additional help out to customers' cars.
Keep it Clean
With winter foot traffic comes snow, salt, and muddy puddles. Make sure your location is outfitted with flooring that’s ready to handle the more unpleasant rigors of winter. Train staff to keep on top of messes by mopping floors regularly and offering additional rugs and mats to help soak up any additional messes.
. . . And to All a Good Night
Just as important as welcoming customers to your store is to bid them adieu with a warm holiday sendoff. Be sure your staff thanks every customer and adds a little holiday cheer to send them on their way. And be sure to remind your customers about any additional post-holiday specials you’re planning. Once they’ve experienced your excellent customer service, they’ll be looking forward to returning after the holidays.
The holidays needn’t be a nightmare in the retail world. Learn to embrace the extra traffic this time of year, and your customers will thank you with their pocketbooks.