By now, the majority of retailers have their 2016 holiday campaigns and promotions set in motion. It’s a busy time of year for everyone, with retailers counting on the holiday season to achieve and/or exceed annual sales goals. With more traffic during the peak holiday months than any other time of year, retailers need to be prepared to deal with the higher volume and intensity that occur.
From lights, decorations and music to well-informed staff, longer business hours and stellar customer service, people expect more from retailers. We all know customer service is an important element of the shopping experience at any time, but it’s even more critical during the holiday season.
Making a list, checking it twice
Creating an optimal holiday shopping experience for your customers is often a direct reflection of intense preparation. With an infinite amount of choices, retailers are expected to take control of the shopper experience to attract loyal customers and new customers alike. From pulling in the right products in the right numbers to satisfying customers to bringing in seasonal associates to boost capacity, smart planning helps retailers strike the right balance to ensure expectations are met on all fronts.
Retailers are expected to keep the same in-store experience without increasing the budget. Here are four tips to ensure your in-store experience doesn’t suffer:
Easy communication: Communication is the foundation of success in any organization. Customers and sales are won or lost depending on how well-informed and knowledgeable the staff are through multiple touchpoints. It should be easy for your employees to communicate with each other in order to ensure minimal footsteps and more time with the customer. In addition to leveraging two-way radios to help keep information flowing without taking associates away from the floor, it’s important to schedule short “take five” meetings to give regular updates and address changes to holiday promotions that may occur throughout the day.
Optimize your alerts: Brick-and-mortar retailers need to harness the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) by activating the right technologies to drive the in-store customer experience. Find ways to ensure that you use the right alerts to make it easy for your customers to find items to purchase. Motion sensors, cameras, thermostats and beacons are IoT “eyes and ears” that monitor aisle activities. Platforms such as LNL System’s FlorLink SmartHub help retailers maximize their investment in a smart sales floor.
Mobile coupons galore. Since mobile devices can help close the gap between online shopping and brick-and-mortar stores, retailers should take a look at mobile as yet another way to entice customers to shop in your store. Utilize iBeacons to share personalized holiday coupons and sales directly to a shoppers’ phone when they enter your store. This is a great way to push consumers down the purchase funnel.
Shorten lines: As retailers gear up for the holiday rush, they know what consumers detest the most – waiting in long lines. In fact, 75% of retailers will lose a sale because of a long line. Keeping in mind the holiday season brings an influx of shoppers to the stores, find unique ways to make sure your shoppers aren’t waiting in endless lines to check out. Use a queue management system and utilize mobile checkouts for increased efficiency.
Each year the holiday season ushers in new excitement and challenges for retailers. This can be a time of joy and togetherness or a time of immense stress and anxiety. Take advantage of the opportunity to surprise and delight your customers by providing an unparalleled shopping experience.
Creating an optimal holiday shopping experience for your customers is often a direct reflection of intense preparation. With an infinite amount of choices, retailers are expected to take control of the shopper experience to attract loyal customers and new customers alike.