by Heidi J. Diamond, CMO Integral Board Group
...Let's Talk Turkey (pun intended) for Holiday Retail Sales...
Stuffed! Don’t think turkey will be on the menu for another month. Alas, tryptophan didn’t seem to stop the masses from the onslaught of shopper’s delight. Thanks to the deep discounting retailers have mounted all month long, the forecast for 655.8 BILLION dollars in shopping spend is where the pundits are netting out for this holiday season’s results. CRAZY!!
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday and Super Saturday(s) have evolved to be contact sport amongst us all. And then there are those that continue to wait and wait til it’s closer and closer to the giving to see what better discounts might be achieved. And, for the retailers this year, the event has quite the concentration as both Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanza all run into each other this year. So will the super sport be concentrated on the weekend of 12/17-12/18 for sellers or will the crescendo be on Saturday 12/24?
And whether your customers are coming to you, in the flesh, or coming to you in their pj’s (wildly shopping while curled up at home), how is it that you are reminding customers that they should shop with you (clothed or unclothed)?
We often forget how necessary reinforcement is those who love and adore you and your retail establishment and who prefer your place of business to the behemoths, but they’re shopping with your competitors as you’ve forgotten to let them know what’s available at YOUR place of business. Whereas everyone is deluged with a bevy of noise and detail coming to them from their inbox or on their social media platforms if you’re not engaging with your customers, why should they be engaging with you? It’s those ever precious impressions you need to be consistently making with your devoted during this time of year to remind them why they are, indeed, devoted to your venue versus big guys and small guys alike.
Here are a few tips for how best to engage together these next few weeks with shopper Sara and shopper Sam that won’t break the bank for you and won’t send them seeking asylum from shopper schizophrenia.
This week: Panic may be setting in as shopper’s realize that the holidays, are, indeed, upon us and that the big day(s) is looming. Armed with their lists of all that have been naughty and nice, why not reach out via email to your database and remind your devoted, and give em a ‘zetz, to come in to see you (or shop online) with an appeal of a free something. Be it a glass of bubbly, a nibble, a promotional item, we all respond favorably when something added is offered. Target’s not passing out glasses filled with something effervescent. Schmooze your loyalists and pamper them a bit. Best Buy’s not turning on the charm with any warm and fuzzy offerings. Give ‘em a reason to come to visit you versus the big boxes.
Buyer personas are an ideal tactic to help you bring to life who it is you’re addressing as your customer. Use your Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook platforms to curate imagery that reflect the lifestyle of your core customers. Offer gift giving suggestions and provide imagery that helps illustrate who the intended gift recipient is and the emotion likely to be elicited upon receiving the cherished item.
Week of 12/5: For those diehard customers who’ve been shopping for others since the August sales, now is the time to remind them that they should be doing something special for themselves. Encourage them to indulge and maybe splurge for themselves. As an astute retailer and marketer, you know your customer’s needs and wants. What can you entice them with to get them to spend a little something on themselves? Cashmere? Spa services? A piece of coveted jewelry? Show it in your email blast and, again, find imagery that applies best to your target audience. And your social media platforms should curate imagery that puts your buyer personas in lifestyle situations. Don’t forget a call to action inviting your customer to treat themselves this holiday season.
Week of 12/12: Customer freak-out is starting to set in for those that have yet to get on the stick and shake their shopping tail feather. What can you do to help them and ease their panic? Why not send secret Santa tips for parking spots no one else knows about? Or entice them, again, with a cup of hot chocolate and cookies when they order online and pick up in store. For those of us that really can’t wrap a package to save our lives, bring in experts and offer free wrapping as a service. Capture their attention with a solid subject line in your email that will be beneficial to keep your venue top of mind when your customer is in panic mode. Tips and education can be the content you use in social media. Alerts via Twitter when the best time of day to avoid crowds and to hit your venue with ease could be useful.
Week of 12/19: The big finish. Christmas is on a Sunday this year and many people may have to go to work on Monday, 12/26 (YUCK!!). Perhaps now is the time to let your customers know about any special events for post-holiday shopping. Clearance sales, markdowns, exchange windows are all effective details to be communicating to your customer base at this time. What benefits can you offer to help those still in need for holiday gifts or in need for services post-holiday. Keep all your communications bright and brief. Imagery sells better than a bunch of jumbled words. Curate, curate, curate.
Bite size content is best. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, think about how you can best stand out in all of your pushed notifications. Surprise and delight with well thought out content and imagery.
Best to you and yours for a most joyful, healthy and prosperous holiday and New Year. And as all your holiday selling and marketing efforts will engage, surprise and delight your customer, may the only turkey you encounter be the one on your holiday plate.
Picture Credit: By Gridprop at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Heidi J. Diamond is a Board Member of Integral Board Group (IBG), a Board Service Provider (BSP) specializing in performance-based, board advisory services for small to mid-market companies in all verticals. Benefits of a Board as a Service (BaaS) include a single entity, accountable as a team, providing cohesive governance and is specifically tied to a company’s performance. IBG improves business performance by providing seasoned advice in the areas that every business will face during all phases of its growth cycles. http://www.integralbg.com