All holiday season, your small retail shop has been battling the big online retailers. Well, here’s some good news. As Christmas gets closer, and consumers get less willing to pay for costly shipping (or risk gifts not arriving in time), your brick-and-mortar store has a big advantage over online retailers.
With free shipping a huge selling point for online shoppers, consumers have gotten spoiled to the point they hate to pay for shipping. That means after Free Shipping Day (the last day when participating retailers guarantee shipping by Christmas – it’s December 18 this year), you’ll see a lot more last minute holiday shoppers hitting the pavement in search of gifts.
So how can you get the business of these last minute holiday shoppers?
Grabbing Last Minute Holiday Shoppers
Position Yourself as the Answer to Their Problems
Your marketing messages should emphasize that your store offers last minute gift solutions. Tell them that you offer fast, easy service and a wide range of products that will ease their holiday stress.
Of course, make sure you can deliver on these promises.
Offer In-Store Pickup
If you have an eCommerce site, offer last minute holiday shoppers the option to order online and pick up products in-store.
Make sure to set a cut-off date and time online orders need to be placed so shoppers aren’t disappointed.
Provide Assistance by Phone
While you may not want to hold unpaid products for customers for an extended time during this season, you can offer to hold them for an hour or so. You can have employees take credit card orders over the phone and hold the purchased products for in-store pick-up.
Make it Easy for Customers to Contact You
Last minute holiday shoppers are in a frenzy and will often want to get in touch before they head out to your store to make sure you have product on hand.
Make sure that your store’s contact information, including email, phone number and address, is clearly visible above the fold (before they have to scroll down to see it) on every page of your website.
Then make sure you’re answering your phone and checking that email constantly. Also include driving directions and/or a map to make getting there easier.
Update Your Presence on Local Search Sites
In short, anything that will help persuade shoppers to choose you over the competition.
Simplify Last Minute Shopping With “Grab and Go” Gifts
You can set up displays with products grouped together in ways that make sense, such as “gifts for Dad,” “gifts for the kids,” “gifts for the hostess,” etc. You can also group products by price “gifts under $10,” “gifts under $50,” etc.
You can even display the unwrapped products and then wrap up gift baskets or boxes with the products inside so customers can just grab the wrapped sets and buy them. Make sure wrapped packages are clearly marked as to what’s inside.
Offer In-Store Gift Wrapping Services
Last minute holiday shoppers love one stop shopping. Help them stress less by offering gift wrapping in-store. You can offer a free option with basic wrap and ribbon, then charge for more elaborate wrapping.
You can also sell gift wrap, gift tags, tape and cards right by the register for those who want to do it themselves, but don’t want to make a separate stop at another store for supplies.
Don’t Forget the Impulse Buys
Put small stocking stuffer type products next to the registers or the areas where customers wait in line.
Extend Your Hours
If you aren’t already doing so, open early and stay open late in the days leading up to Christmas. Be sure to promote the extended hours via email, text messaging, social media and store signage.
Try Online Advertising
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) can work great this time of year if you buy ads that serve up when last minute holiday shoppers look for gift ideas or last minute gifts online.
Try these tips and take advantage of the last full weekend of Christmas shopping!
Shopping Photo via Shutterstock