It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go! With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be challenging for retailers to cut through the noise and truly connect with their customers.
The holiday shopping season is the time to shine for retail stores and provides an opportunity to impress both existing and new customers. Nearly one-third of retail customers intend to shop for holiday gifts at their favorite retail stores this year. Higher foot traffic can lead to increased revenues during the season, but where many retailers fall short is attracting shoppers back once the stockings are put away.
In order to capitalize year-round, retailers need to turn holiday shoppers into loyal customers. Here are 4 ways retail stores can connect with customers during the holiday rush.
1. Engage Customers
Keeping retail customers connected to your brand is easier than ever in our ultra-connected environment. Encourage holiday shoppers to check-in with Facebook using your Wi-Fi, since more check-ins and engagements improves your visibility on the web and builds a stronger social media presence. Prioritize customer interactions online and if they ask a question, promptly answer— since social media can boost your brand reputation and create customer loyalty.
Inside your brick-and-mortar, give store tours—show customers around so they feel more at ease in your retail store. While they may only be looking for that specific holiday item now, they will remember other products you carry and where to find them to fulfill a need at a later date.
As a retailer, give them a reason to step inside— offering in-store promotions and perks just for coming in the door might be just the inspiration shoppers need to spend a little extra on an item they didn’t know they needed.
2. Holiday Loyalty Rewards
With 42% of U.S. shoppers planning to fund their holiday shopping using loyalty points, the holiday season is a great time for your customers to get a head start on collecting more points. Offering holiday-specific rewards, such as double points for purchases, free or expedited shipping, or a free gift with purchase, attracts shoppers who may not have come in otherwise. In fact, 41% of consumers will shop at retail stores where they can rack up more loyalty points buying holiday gifts.
With the spirit of giving in the air over the holidays, rewards offer customers added value. When they purchase a gift for someone else, it’s as if they get a gift for themselves in return, which encourages their repeated business.
3. Gift Card Programs
Gift card programs are a great way to add additional value and have the same wooing effect on shoppers as loyalty points. Offer gift cards for specific merchandise purchases or for spending a certain dollar amount—shoppers can use the gift card to further fund their holiday shopping, give as a gift, or keep for themselves to enjoy after the holidays.
Holiday shoppers are more likely to return to a retail store—gift card in hand—after the holiday season than they would be without.
4. Offer a Customer-Centric Shopping Experience
The best course of action to connect beyond the holidays is to be proactive during the rush. Be prepared for the inevitable, things will go wrong and 98% of customers feel better about a company if they are upfront about it. The holidays are a crucial time and customers want to know what’s going on with their purchases even if it’s not ideal. Healthy communication builds customer loyalty.
Creating a seamless, pleasant customer experience from beginning to end will put you top of mind in shoppers’ eyes. Think about handling post-holiday returns and exchanges, make sure you have a hassle-free policy and are equipped with staff and inventory to handle the demands. Equip staff with the tools they need to provide excellent in-store service and meet customer expectations.
Leveraging POS technology can simplify the shopping process for both staff and customers and ensures the type of customer experiences that will foster lifelong customer relationships long after the holidays.
Contact Auto-Star to learn more about the retail technology solutions that will help you to build customer loyalty this holiday season and beyond.