Store stocked with merchandise? Check. Hired all the staff you need for the holiday rush? Check. Sent out holiday email blasts so your customers know about deals you are offering? Check. By now, you should be fully prepared for the holiday rush and just waiting for the arrival of your eager customers to buy gifts for their loved ones. But… before you let this crazy time of year overwhelm you, Independent Retailer has a few last minute holiday tips to ensure you are fully prepared, come what may!
Top tips for holiday success from Bryan Gray, Sr. Vice President, Client Solutions, at Alorica:
- Schedule a pre-peak season meeting with your management team to go through marketing strategies, calendar of events (sales), blackout for PTO, mandatory training, and the playbook on success (best practices). Be sure you’re all on the same page.
- Just as important as the pre-peak season meeting, make sure to schedule a post-mortem meeting on post-holiday, where you can go over lessons learned that can be applied to next season.
- Listen! Allow your customers to provide feedback, good or bad, to ensure your team is working to better their service skills when it is needed most.
- Customers who receive great service from a business are much more likely to return. Ensure your employees are providing the best service possible so shoppers will not only return to your store after the holiday season but possibly spread the word to their friends, prompting new business.
It’s also supremely important to treat your employees right during the holidays. Gray reminds us all that as an owner, you’re not the only one stressed, and by keeping your employees happy, they will, in turn, make sure your customers are happy. Poor customer service can cost retail businesses up to $41 billion a year. Don’t become one of those statistics, and treating your team right during the holidays can be easy. Small things like giving them an extra percentage off employee purchases or buying lunch for everyone one day can make a huge difference in making your staff feel appreciated.
Joe Pine, Columbia professor and author of “The Experience Economy,” tells Retail Dive that the most important tip for luring in customers this holiday season is to keep their experiences personalized! Pine notes that creating an experience has multiple benefits for business owners and that an experience engages individuals in a personal way, creating a memory that lasts beyond the shopping visit. Do all that you can to make sure your store is prepped and merchandised to create a fun and welcoming atmosphere. In addition, Pina adds that participating in an experience keeps customers in your store longer, which can help to add more products to their shopping cart. Give your customers a reason to get out from behind their computer screen and into your shop.
And, after the hectic holidays, don’t forget the wrap-up. January is the time to reboot your systems and prepare for a whole new year. Salesforce has some tried and true tips for making the most of the post-holiday process:
- Prove you were listening — use the data you gathered through the holiday season to send personalized offers that speak directly to your customers’ interests.
- Don’t pester your list, personalize it — focus on sending personalized content so customers don’t unsubscribe.
- Brainstorm with your team about holiday returns. 10% of total purchases in the retail industry are returned, so set a plan in stone for how to turn those returns into exchanges. Prepping your team now will save you time and headaches in the weeks to come.
Whatever your holiday strategies this year, take a moment to reflect on your successes and be sure to write down all your great ideas to use as a jumping-off point for next year’s Golden Quarter.