With so much pressure to perform this holiday season, we wanted to ensure you had the right tools in your toolkit to make it the best one ever. These 10 holiday retail hacks can be easily implemented, have proof of working, and do not require significant investment upfront. All that said, these tips range from new software to new tracking measures to simple operational best practices. At the ned of the day it’s about helping you get the most out of your efforts to drive traffic and sales, so buckle up and let’s run through these.
If you haven’t already been experimenting with small scale “test sites” this is your opportunity. Have your web team, or whoever handles the website set up a quick page which is holiday related. On this page, you can go for several goals but stick to one. For instance, maybe you want more emails for Black Friday, set up a page with just a few words and an email form. Try adding 3–5 items to the page and mark those as the most special holiday items with the best price/style etc. and see how those do in relation to your store overall. The point here is to give yourself a nice tool which you know has a specific purpose which can be used to facilitate additional sales/emails or what not, which can also be used in other advertising material.
People love events. If there is any way you can provide customers with a very cool or themed shopping event for the holidays, this can get a lot of attention and actually drive sales. You do not want to do this half-assed as it can make you look bad. However, if done right and you provide even some light snacks, a cool goodie bag, and extra discounts for shoppers who come, you’ll likely have a much more loyal customer base with some great feedback from customers.
Almost like the craft booths that pop up outside the school, this is your chance to surprise and delight. For instance, I was up skiing in VT and when we showed up at the resort, in the lobby there was a sporting goods store with a pop up shop there selling goods like crazy. I didn’t realize it at the time but thinking back now I am sure this is a great way to get your product/company in front of some buyers eyes. Pay special attention to the location you chose. In this case, the company (Orvis) had a great audience (outdoorsy types) at a great location (Stowe Mt. Ski Resort) so they clearly did things right. Also, be sure to get emails from customers/browsers, and alert them of your actual stores should they want to check out your full selection.
Birds of a feather flock together so keep this in mind when considering how you will bring traffic to your site/store. The best way to do this is with a system designed to give rewards when they refer someone to your site and they purchase. This works remarkably well and can be implemented quickly (simple reach out to a firstname.lastname@example.org). While many times this is handled through a software system like this one, you can do this simply by announcing through the mail or by email when they bring a buddy into make a purchase with them you both get 10% off or something of that nature.
Yes, this is something we focus on. We focus on it because this is the best way to encourage omnichannel sales. So try this, go ahead grab this free tool and insert it within the header on your site. When it’s set up it will work like this: the customer is on your site, this will recognize their location and present an instant pop up with the location of your closest store, all the store information (hours, logo, social etc.) and an incentive to click the “navigate now” button. It’s as simple as that to begin bringing more customers to your stores. This can be used of course without any sort of software. Simply send out an email with a quick link of all your store locations so they can pick the best. For a quick and dirty way to do this, follow this tutorial or follow this one to utilize Google My Maps.
SEO is more thought of a strategy to use over time to improve the quality of the traffic coming to your site through search engines. While this is correct, there are some things you can and should get in order with your website. Here’s the shortlist:
This is by no means a conclusive list of the essential components for search engine optimization but this does provide a pretty solid foundation of the SEO fundamentals you can improve to get very short term results from.
While you probably have already spent lots of time training staff, it is imperative they know how to deal with this time of year. Your customers will be coming in to buy swiftly and quickly. Anything that throws a customer off, could be the thing that causes them to walk out or even worse, tell other people about their terrible experience. So, being sure the staff knows to be aware of customer flow, adding more people to the register as needed, adjusting the number of people on the sales floor etc. will make this time period more lucrative. Beyond those basics of knowing the job is actually selling the customers. Many times retail store staff are out of touch with how to be a HELPFUL member. They go around with the classic “can I help you?” or “Would you like me to grab you a different size?” which is all relevant but it does not help you get more sales. First, they should make sure the customer is getting what they were looking for, but more importantly ask questions about why. Things like “Is there a particular reason you chose to shop here with us today?” or “What sorts of items can we help you check off your list?” are much better open-ended questions that get customers talking. When a customer has opened up to you about what they want, they will drop hints about what problem they are in there to solve. When you address this, and continue the conversation with recommendations or cross-sells this averages out to a whole lot more sales coming in, believe me!
In this case, what you want to find is a store nearby which has an assortment of products complementary to yours. For instance, a kitchen supply store could pair with a grocery store nearby. A supplements provider could coordinate with a gym. An outdoor clothing retailer could pair with a local guide company etc. The way you want to handle the collaboration is through combined flyers, combined mailers, combined in-store promotions, and combined coupon offers for your sites. It does not have to be complicated, you are simply leveraging the other parties network of customers to help your own sales while doing the same for them.
Putting an offer on Facebook alone will probably not do a whole lot for you. Putting up an offer and targeting a specific segment of people through sponsored posts is what will get you more customers. Our customers see a lot of success with this. You must choose the targeting options carefully, and you’ll want a very nice graphic to go with it, but put something up anyway, run a $30 campaign, and see how it works for you.
While most retailers know about psychological pricing, it’s not as well known how we can do this within our retail stores to make them produce higher volumes. Well, one method to achieve this is to place a high price alternative next to a moderately priced, high margin item. This will inevitably force consumers to see the lower price as one that is well within their range after viewing the high priced option sitting right next to it. This cannot be done with all products, but there are certain items, particularly in tech products that it will work fantastically well for you. Give it a try and see how many of the moderately priced items you sell.
There it is, the 2016 list of 10 retail hacks you can still try. As I mentioned, most of these are really quite easy to implement and test for effectiveness. What I do suggest doing is to implement 1–2 and try them. Do not try to implement all 10 at once or you will surely regret it. Another note I should point out is to make sure you have the right tools in place to track everything. From your POS to the website, and the cross sales in between, get as accurate of a measure as possible on what items have sold, and through what channel the customer came through to buy that item. This data will be very valuable to you in the next year of shopping.
For now, I will leave with a warm happy holiday wish to you all! We would love to hear about any of your successes in the comments or through an email directly! Happy Holidays to all, go get em!