Give Your Customers A Treat This Holiday

12 Ways to Encourage Holiday Shopping – Online & Offline

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, the holiday push is in full swing. While every marketer’s got a heavy promotional schedule lined up to drive sales, take a step back and think about your customers. Do something special to encourage holiday shopping while giving them something to talk about on social media platforms.

After the long Thanksgiving weekend filled with family, cooking and celebrating, my sister wanted nothing more than some time and space for herself. How many of your customers are in the same situation?

As the holiday craziness with its parties and celebrations gets closer, we need to find that quiet calm. As a marketer, how can you provide a measure of tranquility to your prospects and customers? Here are twelve ideas, one for each day of Christmas, to help you. Remember the goal is to lure them into your store, either retail or online.

  1. Give shoppers an incentive. Don’t just give them a pre-Christmas coupon, make it valid for use after your January sales.
  2. Provide a gift with each gift. Reward customers for spending a specific amount or purchasing a specific product. Ideally, the gift should be targeted at the shopper.
  3. Ship it for them. Help close the deal. Online etailers have encouraged shoppers with free shipping and handling. Do the same for offline customers.
  4. Have a special phone shopper. Do more than just take the orders, let customers describe the recipient and then do the shopping for them. Think gift concierge. This is useful for retailers serving business executives since it gets gifts wrapped and on their way.
  5. Have a charity tie-in. In the spirit of the season, do a tie-in with a related charity or one that’s important to your customers. You can match donations, donate a portion of sales, collect products customers purchase from you, or support other forms of charity. For example, Barnes & Noble collects children’s books and yarn stores collect and sew together afghans. (Here are nine ways to show you care.)
  6. Offer free downloads including music, ebooks and/or videos. These downloads can be for special entertainment, education or tailored content related to your product. Among the options are recipes, patterns or how-tos. Incorporate links to your website where appropriate.
  7. Offer holiday cheer. Since an afternoon of shopping can drain anyone, have drinks, cakes and/or candy on hand for shoppers to give them a quick pick me up. It’s even better if the food’s associated with your products.
  8. Give them a seat. Depending on your clientele and location, put seating out, preferably near impulse purchases. This is particularly important for older shoppers.
  9. Create special shopping hours. While many stores went wild for Black Friday, take a different approach. Offer special breakfast hours for customers on their way to work. Add a pot of coffee to entice them.
  10. Keep the kids occupied. Provide kid-friendly, non-breakable toys to keep children amused while mom’s shopping. Alternatively, watch the children while parents are shopping.
  11. Treat customers special. Show a movie after shopping hours or have adult drinks for a girls’ night out. Lions Brand Studio does this once a month. It’s a great way to get shoppers into your store all year round.
  12. Invite local high school choir to sing. Last year, the Limelight Marketplace, a collection of boutique stores in a converted Manhattan church, hosted the Boy’s and Girl’s Choir from Harlem to kick off the holiday shopping season. The effect was magical. Of course, you could also spotlight another organization.

Incorporate these tactics into your overall marketing to maximize your holiday results. Where possible, gather information from prospects to enable you to deepen your relationships. Of course, don’t forget to say thank you.

What other ways would you suggest to encourage shopping by treating your buyers special?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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