The shopping season is upon us and Main Street retailers are working hard to make the holiday shopping experience fun, memorable and easy. To help achieve this goal, retailers should give some thought to what types of shopping experiences they want their customers to have. What should customers be saying, feeling and experiencing while in the store? What should they say when they leave the store?
Below we have summarized some of the great advice provided to Main Street retailers this holiday shopping season by Margie Johnson, president of Shop Talk. Johnson’s original article was the Nov. 28, 2012 Main Street Story of the Week. Johnson encourages Main Street retailers to focus on creating a holiday look, providing outstanding hospitality and creating a shopping buzz on Main Street.
Create a holiday look.
- Create an overall theme, color palette, etc., to set a holiday mood.
- Make creative gift wrapping a marketing opportunity.
- Let creative signage be your silent salesperson.
- Create price-point groupings for items under $10 and products ranging from $10-25.
- Create sensory experiences that appeal to all of the senses. Allow customers to smell cookies baking; see a vast assortment of products that are well displayed; hear the local string quartet or harpist; touch and handle products; taste goodies that are out on the counters.
Approach the holiday season as a time for hospitality.
- Make a “joyful noise.” Carefully select small musical groups to perform in your store.
- Invite customers to create an ornament to bring in to place on a charity tree.
- Entertain children waiting in the Santa line by using videos, arts/crafts projects, etc.
- Find space for a coat/package check.
- Set up a temporary cart or table offering package wrapping and shipping.
Create a “buzz” on Main Street!
- “Sleepless in _________(your town).” Have a pajama party, serve espresso, hire a limo to pick up customers and take them home with their gift packages all wrapped and ready.
- Select a cause, charity or club and team up with them for an in-store event. Give a percentage of the sales to the charity, and use members of the group to “pre-sell” the event.
- Invite your top clients to a Pampered Patron Party or GNO (Girls Night Out).
- Silent Night Silent Auction—everyone loves an auction—secure vendor donations; make it cause-related.
- Sell gift certificates in bulk for a substantial discount.
- Reach out to Facebook fans with special “daily deals,” or create an event to promote through social media.
- Unleash your creativity, involve your staff and look for ways to enhance the experiences customers can have in your store during this holiday season!