If you are selling anything, you should be gearing up for the holiday season that is fast approaching. Your business plan for the holidays should be more than opening your days and letting storms of people elbow each other into your store and then throwing money at you.
What is your attitude or philosophy in terms of your customer service? Smile? Check. Spoke in a pleasant tone? Check. Wished them “Happy Holidays”? Check. But is that it? Most importantly, is that enough?
Here are a few easy things for retailers to offer:
1. Gift wrapping. This can be as easy as a brown or white bag with a company-branded gift tag, sticker, or ribbon on the outside. Add some tissue paper at the top of the bag. The exterior packaging needs to look nice enough for customers to give to another person. A gift bag is easier and cheaper than boxing and wrapping gifts but you can do that as well depending on your gifts and customer needs.
2. Create and maintain a wish list for customers. Do you target gifts to a specific gender or audience? Can you ask your customers to create a wish list and provide the email address for a significant other? Some people hate shopping and would love a cheat sheet. I’m pretty sure my husband would love it if I told him to go to ABC store and pick something off my list. The store would wrap it and include a card (see #1) and my husband would pay. Minimal work from him and I get what I wanted. Easy peezy.
3. Add a personalized card or message. You can include a card with each customer purchase so that the customer can write a personalized message to the receiver. Be sure to include the business contact information on the back of the card. This can be as small as a business card size. This way, it works as double duty. If the customer is keeping the gift, then you do not need this but always offer.
4. Highlight one product a day on social media. Not all people like to shop. By highlighting one item or some group of items, like “Gifts under $20”, you are making it easy for customers to buy from you. In this case, less is more. Customers are bombarded with thousands of messages a day. So make it easy for them. You can specifically market recommended items for teachers, postal workers, caretakers, office gift exchanges, or other occasions where people must buy gifts for non-family members.
5. Personalize gifts. Is there any way that you can personalize gifts? This simple act, whether embroidering, painting, or writing on the actual gift, can increase the value and uniqueness of the gift.
6. Create gift baskets. Can you group similar items together in a basket and sell as a package? I once visited a small coffee shop which also sold locally-made chocolates, packaged coffee, and a few other trinkets. Needing a gift for friend, I bought a half pound of chocolate roasted coffee, a box of 6 truffles, and a chocolate dipped spoon. I then walked across the street to Dollar General, paid $2 for a gift bag and tissue paper, and instantly had a ‘basket’ of chocolate-themed gifts from local vendors for less than $20. How easy it would have been for the coffee shop to sell these 3 items together for Valentine’s Day or birthdays for less than $25? Increase the coffee to a full pound, add a few more truffles, and include a $5 gift card to raise the price point for a second “premium” basket option.
These ideas are easy for you to implement this week in your business. Remember to make the shopping experience easy and delightful for your customers.