MARKETING & ADVERTISING • November 23, 2015
2 minutes Read
By Rieva Lesonsky
Holiday shopping is right around the corner. Are you ready? Prepare your retail store for a successful holiday shopping season with these marketing ideas.
1. Plan your promotions. Last year, promotions were the most important factor in where consumers shopped, according to Baynote’s Annual Holiday Survey 2014. However, it’s important to time them right and run the numbers to make sure you don’t lose money by offering too deep of discounts or too frequent of sales.
2. Create a sense of urgency. In 2014, time-sensitive promotions — particularly those lasting 48 hours or less — were extremely successful, reports an analysis of holiday shopping behavior by StepsAway. Use email marketing or social media posts to alert customers to short-term offers.
3. Get your email list in shape. Email marketing is a highly effective marketing strategy all year round, but especially at holiday time. Last year, the Baynote study reports, almost 40 percent of shoppers frequently or always used promotional offers sent by email. Update your email list; then build it by encouraging new shoppers to sign up. You can offer an immediate discount for signing up or send a welcome email with a discount good on their next purchase.
4. Reward loyal customers. Treat your existing customers like VIPs this holiday season. Start now by sending them notices of early access to upcoming sales, special events just for them, discount codes or coupons, or offers for free gifts with purchase.
5. Think local. Holiday shoppers use their smartphones to find local stores, so if you want to get their attention, it’s important to make sure your business is listed on local search directories such as Local.com and Google. Make sure your listings are accurate and include essential information such as hours of operation, address and/or directions, and a phone number.
6. Team up. Whether your store’s located in a mall, outdoor shopping center or “Main Street” downtown, teaming up with other business owners can benefit all of you. Work with the Chamber of Commerce and other retailers to come up with ideas for events, promotions and activities. See if Alignable has a group in your area.
7. Take advantage of Small Business Saturday. The Saturday after Thanksgiving — this year, November 28 — is a day devoted to encouraging consumers to support independent local businesses. Visit the Small Business Saturday website for more details, plus access to plenty of marketing materials to help you promote your business.
8. Make it festive. What type of holiday atmosphere works for your store and your brand? Whether you want your store to feel stimulating, soothing, fun and/or exciting, plan how you will decorate and merchandise your location to draw customers in the door. Attract shoppers by appealing to all five senses with color, music, seasonal scents such as pine or potpourri, and even refreshments if appropriate.
9. Host special events. Special after-hours sales open only to loyal customers, in-store events such as local musicians playing, poetry readings, book signings or free gift-wrap day — can attract both new and returning customers.
Small business influencer Rieva Lesonsky is a guest blogger for CAN Capital. She is a nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship and has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years.
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