The Christmas season is full of anticipation for many retailers, but it’s also highly competitive. Many business owners wonder how they can attract more customers during this time.
The Christmas season is one of the most lucrative times of the year for retailers. According to the National Retail Federation, “Overall, holiday sales represent about 20 percent of annual retail sales each year, but the figure can be higher for some retailers.”
5 tips to increase retail foot traffic during the holiday season
However, to make the most of the holiday season, you’ll need to put effort into attracting customers to your store. If you want to increase retail foot traffic this season, here are five practical tips to get started.
1. Create a relaxing in-store experience
Holiday retail sales in November and December are coveted by all businesses, those who benefit directly, like gift shops, apparel stores, etc., and indirectly (e.g., gas stations, restaurants, etc.) Despite the relaxing nature of the holiday season, Christmas can be an incredibly stressful period for everyone.
You can show you understand this by providing a place to relax. If you have the budget (and space), consider partnering with another local business to offer a pop-up cafe for shoppers who want to relax and shop.
If that’s outside of your budget, there are other ways to ease your customers’ holiday shopping stress. For example, you could offer a free local home delivery service to ensure a hassle-free experience for bulky purchases.
2. Don’t skimp on staff
During the holidays, customers expect convenience. For instance, studies confirm “In-store, shoppers are overwhelmingly burdened by long checkout lines (75%) and messy/overcrowded stores (61%).”
For this reason, superior customer service can make a huge difference over the holidays. However, it is incredibly difficult to achieve this when you have a queue stretching out of the front door, and no one is free to tidy up the shelves and displays. The answer to this common complaint is simple: hire more temporary staff during the busiest shopping season of the year.
Staffing agencies can offer access to qualified temporary employees over the Christmas season. Also, your current team may be willing to take on extra hours. The additional staffing costs might seem daunting, but with foot traffic forecasts and marketing, it can be worthwhile.
3. Offer shareable gift recommendations
Christmas shopping can be difficult. We all have that one person on our list who’s impossible to shop for, or maybe you want to find something extra-special for your significant other, but you keep coming up empty-handed.
Creating a simple Christmas gift guide or theme-driven wish lists leading up to the holiday with gift recommendations can be a huge help, and relatively easy to implement.
You can also create in-store displays, flyers, social media campaigns, or an email drip campaign with gifts for certain people on everyone’s list (e.g., gifts for mom, dad, kids, coworkers, etc.). You can also ask your staff to share their product recommendations.
Customers might not buy those exact products and services, but if you prove helpful, they’ll share your recommendations with others and write online reviews. Don’t forget that word-of-mouth goes a long way during the holidays.
4. Grab their attention
Your front store window display will play a key part in your Christmas retail marketing strategy. While many retailers choose to advertise sales or deals in their window, this isn’t the best way to grab attention. Holiday shoppers are bombarded with offers, so one option is to showcase something unique.
Think of an eye-catching and quirky window display ideas for Christmas. For example, if you own a bookstore, consider creating a Christmas tree made of stacked books. Consider floating presents held up by clear string. If you sell menswear, create a Christmas tree full of ties. Perhaps you’d like to display a sign that offers free gift-wrapping with a minimum purchase. Make sure the window display makes it clear what you are selling and entices people to come inside.
5. Focus on long-term relationships
If you approach the holiday season with a transactional mindset to get people through the door and sell to them, you’re not likely to succeed.
Instead, look at the holiday season as an opportunity to acquire long-term customers. With this approach in mind, you’re more likely to make the best decisions about how to market your business over Christmas.
Customers don’t want to encounter aggressive salespeople or feel overlooked if they don’t make a purchase. Provide excellent customer service to every person that walks through your door. Consider offering walk-ins hot tea at the door or a small chocolate bar at checkout. Show everyone in your community how valuable they are to you.
Benjamin Wang is the owner of KSF Global, one of the UK’s most effective retail design agencies. KSF Global worked with a wealth of retailers, brands and agencies in the UK, China and the USA since 2006 rolling out retail interiors, displays, fixtures and fittings.
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