Online shopping has become more popular, and is projected to grow even more so this holiday shopping season. According to a survey by Euclid, 42 percent of consumers plan to spend the bulk of their holiday budgets shopping online, up from 38 percent last year. But while Cyber Monday is projected to be the biggest shopping day of the year overall, the hottest shopping day for brick-and-mortar retailers is the day after Christmas.
Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of consumers in the survey say they’re likely to shop in a physical store the day after Christmas, compared to 60 percent and 56 percent who plan to do so on Black Friday and Super Saturday, respectively. How can your retail store get its share of those customers and turn them into loyal patrons?
1. Give them a sign. Think of your store as “your most valuable billboard,” the study suggests. If your store is in a mall or other area with a lot of foot traffic, signs in store windows are surprisingly effective at attracting customers. Sixty percent of men and 55 percent of women surveyed are likely to visit a store if they see an appealing promotion displayed in the window.
2. Start marking products down the day after Christmas. Consumers who shop on the day after Christmas are typically in a bargain-hunting frame of mind — but because bargains are so plentiful, they’re also ready to splurge. Instead of keeping seasonal merchandise on the shelves until January, you can ready your store for new, more exciting inventory by discounting it now.
3. Put out the welcome wagon. As customers enter the store, greet them and let them know about your current promotions and new merchandise. This can change the customer’s mindset from “Grr, I just want to get in, return this and get out” to “Ooh, maybe I’ll look around a little bit first.”
4. Spruce up your store — and your stock. The day after Christmas, most stores look like they’ve been hit by a hurricane. Shoppers don’t want to linger in a store that looks like a war zone, so make sure your location is shipshape. Why not put out some new merchandise, too? Consumers who have been shopping holiday sales for the past six weeks will be thrilled to see something different than the same old, same old. Plus, a freshly stocked store looks a lot more enticing than one with bare shelves and skimpy displays.
5. Keep customers coming back. Use special offers to get customers who shop the day after Christmas to return during the slower months before spring. For example, when customers make a purchase over a certain amount, give them a discount or gift card good for a limited time in January. Train your sales staff to promote your loyalty program by asking every shopper if they want to sign up.
6. Nurture gift card customers. If customers come in with gift cards to spend, be ready to help — and encourage them to spend more than the amount on the card. Suggest possible purchases and tell them about current promotions that will make their gift cards go further.
7. Turn returns into sales. When customers say they want to return something, always ask if they want to look around the store and exchange the item for something else. Point out similar products, or a different size, model or color they might prefer. Don’t forget to tell them about the new merchandise you’ve just put out.
8. Staff up. In order to successfully sign people up for your loyalty program, help customers with returns, keep the store in order and suggest purchases or exchanges, you’re going to need more employees on the floor than usual. Reward your hardworking staff with overtime, lots of appreciation and perks like bringing in food and coffee to keep them energized.
The day after Christmas can be a tough one in retail, but it’s also a great opportunity to show customers what’s special about your store and turn them into loyal shoppers for the coming year and beyond.