Posted by Paul Anderson
How can you make your Christmas sale better?
Christmas is around the corner and so is the most important time of the year for retailers to capitalize upon. With some forecasters suggesting that 2013 could be one of the best years since the financial crisis began, retailers around the world are wishing for a plentiful Christmas this time.
The weeks running up to Christmas Day are busiest for retailers. Along with the chance to generate large volumes of sales, the festive season also provides the perfect opportunity for retailers to build real and lasting brand value.
Most retailers understand the fact that for shoppers, the run up to Christmas can be a stressful time. To appease customers, retailers have tried to make things easier for people by let’s say – offering gift wrapping services and offering warm mince pies and mulled wine.
While providing these add-ons was fruitful earlier, today will they manage to suffice the customers? (I certainly doubt).
With three quarters (74%) of shoppers now buying some or all of their Christmas shopping online, retailers need to invest time on how they can delight and entertain customers through online, mobile and social channels, as well as in store.
With this thought in mind, several experts have come together to jot down a series of tips on how retailers can show that they care more than just cash this Christmas:
1. Provide gift suggestions
With money tight and must-have gifts often hard to find, researches show that Christmas shopping turns out to be stressful for people. To provide inspiration for gifts to buy, you can invest in attractive window displays that stand out on the high street.
In fact, you can replicate the same approach online as well. All you need to do is hire a graphic designer to update the design and layout of your online store. Producing a festive storefront can put shoppers in the Christmas mood when they enter your store. It can act as an incredibly effective tool in your arsenal by immediately drawing the attention of the shoppers to your products.
Tip: You can further provide inspiration by preparing a round-up of best gift ideas (including those proving to be the best sellers in the run up to Christmas). You can publish round-ups of gift suggestions on your website or can also include them in email newsletters.
2. Recreate the in store experience in your online store
Recognizing the importance of Christmas, many high street retailers increase staffing levels and provide training on customer service, to ensure that shoppers encounter top quality service in store. Apart from the traditional channels, you can also take time to consider how you can provide customer support through other channels, such as social media and web chat.
You can try to recreate the experience of in-store on the web by offering shoppers instant access to shop assistants via a web chat facility. You can also offer real-time customer service support through social channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
Customers expect instant service through the virtual channels. So make sure you are able to meet their expectations by clearly providing a fast and agile service. Experts suggest integrating CRM software solutions for better execution and management of web chat and social media.
With CRM tool integration, your customer reps will have all the crucial data of the customer before starting the chat. In addition, through the CRM they can also keep a constant track of the social feeds posted by the customers.
3. Don’t fall on the big day
Most retailers expect things to ease off a little on the Christmas. Well, according to a research, a third of shoppers continue to shop online on Christmas and Boxing Day. So whether customers are looking to steal an offer or are searching for last-minute presents, remember you still have the opportunity to build customer loyalty.
You can attract customers after Christmas by inviting them to member-only sales (in-store or online). Here customers can get exclusive, first look at products before it is opened for the general public. This can be an easy way to say ‘thank you’ to customers that have shopped with you in the Christmas.
4. Remember to go that extra mile
While delivering a top notch customer experience during the sale is important, there is much more that retailers can do to vow customers post sale. Small personalized treats such as free gift wrapping or a few candy canes in the delivery box can work wonders. After all, remember whether online or offline, it is the experience you provide to the customers that matter.