According to the annual survey from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics, shoppers are ready to start spending this holiday season. Consumers surveyed have reported they will spend an average of $1,007.24 during the 2018 winter months. This is a nice 4.1% uptick from last year, where shoppers averaged $967.13 in 2017.
Great optimism also had a hand in making spirits merry and bright this year. Matthew Shay, NRF President and CEO, attributes this joy to being about more than the holidays. Unemployment is at its lowest it has ever been, take-home wages are up, and small business optimism is at an all-time high. It would not be unlikely for shoppers to participate in all three upcoming shopping holidays — Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.
So, what can small businesses do to personalize the shopping experience for customers this year? Let’s take a look at simple touches that are easy for brick and mortar, as well as online businesses, to include during the holidays.
Strategize on tailored recommendations and added incentives
New research from Accenture and the Retail Industry Leaders Association has uncovered that shoppers crave personalization. This is an area where small businesses can really play to their strengths. Data accumulated about customers can be used to further personalize recommendations.
If you run a bakery and have a customer who frequently purchases red velvet cupcakes from your establishment, you may recommend other, relevant cupcakes to them based off their previous purchases. It will be much more appreciated and considered by the customer than a generic recommendation out of left field.
Beyond recommendations, shoppers also want incentives. 64% surveyed by Accenture and the Retail Industry Leaders Association admitted they would be willing to exchange data about their shopping habits if they received incentives. These types of incentives include coupons and loyalty points. Take the time this holiday season to reward shoppers with special discounts and extra points, if you have a business that runs off of a points rewards system.
Offer gift wrapping
This may sound like an incredibly basic offering, but think about it. When all of these purchases have been made, consumers will have to sit down and spend a considerable amount of time gift wrapping everything. It’s time consuming and can be frustrating if you’re not particularly gifted (pun slightly intended) at wrapping presents like a pro.
Oh, and don’t forget all the tools needed to wrap gifts. Chances are you probably forgot to grab a roll of tape on your way out of store.
Why not take care of this for the customer as part of their holiday shopping experience? If you have a storefront, you can set up a gift wrap station. Encourage customers to stop by after they have made their purchase. Offer up plenty of different wrapping paper designs, colors, and bags for gifts of all shapes and sizes.
Wrap with a team of employees so the customer isn’t waiting for too long to get their gifts wrapped and send them on their way from the store. Their gifts have been wrapped — another task checked off the holiday to-do list!
You can opt to do the same thing with eCommerce or online shops. Before customers reach the check-out page, have them check on a box that allows their gift to be wrapped by your team. Add small thumbnail images of the types of wrapping paper you have available and let them choose the paper and ribbons they’d like.
You can also include photos of existing gifts you have wrapped, so they have an even better idea of what your wrapping style is like. When packaging the gift on its way, consider decorating the envelope or box it comes in so the customer knows it’s their gift and can get excited.
Circle back with customers during the holiday season
More often than not, businesses will “follow up” with customers after the holidays have ended. It’s a much better idea to follow up with them during the season instead. Make sure they know how to get in touch with you, whether by email, phone call, social media, or all of the above.
Reach out to customers post-purchase to make sure they’re happy with their gifts. If anything needs to be returned or exchanged, take care of it as promptly as possible. The sooner you’re able to get the customer what they really wanted — and needed — on their wish list, the happier the holiday season will be for everyone.