4 Last-Minute Holiday Retail Strategies for the Flailing Retailer

2011 December 12
by Ivana Taylor

Retailers know how crucial the holiday season is to their success. It can make-or-break 2011 – and set up 2012 for failure or triumph. With only 13 shopping days until Christmas, what can a retailer do to boost sales the rest of December, as well as keep momentum going into 2012?

To do this, both online and brick-and-mortar retailers can think about these four strategies:

#1 Market Holiday Promotions on Social Media

These campaigns are great because they’re easy and free – words to retailers’ ears. Additionally, they also increase a retailers’ customer reach beyond the holiday season. For example, retailers can create a promotion that promises a discount worth “X percent” the day before Christmas after they receive “X number” of Facebook Likes. After the holidays, the retailer can continue to promote and share marketing information on the Facebook user’s News feed.

#2 Work with Check-in Programs to Build Loyalty

Chances are, the next customer to walk into a store is either putting away their smartphone, on their smartphone or about to get on it. App vendors are offering some great retail check-in solutions to help retailers connect with smartphone-savvy customers. ShopKick, for example, allows retailers to place sensors throughout their store and actually incentivize customers to walk to specific sections. Apps like this will keep customers coming back after the holidays to get more loyalty points.

#3 Offer Free Shipping, Reduced Shipping or In-Store Pickup

Customers love free shipping. In fact, a recent study by comScore found that 78 percent of online holiday shoppers rate “free shipping” as something they actively seek out – or will determine whether or not they make a purchase. Retailers should offer free or reduced shipping, and heavily promote this across their online properties. Additionally, retailers can also offer in-store pickup. This is a great tactic because some customers don’t want items shipped to their house. Additionally, it allows the retailer the opportunity to make additional sales to the in-store customer. Store experience and familiarity will also increase the likelihood the customer will return to the store later.

#4 Extend Return Policies to Encourage Gifting

Because many customers aren’t purchasing for themselves, loosening the return policies will increase the likelihood of that extra purchase. Already have a great return policy? Promote it. Customers that see you have a have a large return or exchange window may be more likely to make a “risky” purchase.

Michael Koploy is an ERP Analyst, and frequently writes on his company blog about trends in the retail industry and small business POS software. He can be reached at michael@softwareadvice.com or @POSAdvice.

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