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The end of the year can be a hectic time for customers and retailers alike. Between the growing popularity of Halloween, the madness of Black Friday, craziness of Christmas and the looming January sales, customers are bombarded with messages and retailers are scrambling to hold onto increasingly disloyal customers.
Things can be particularly tough for brick-and-mortar retailers and independent businesses. 2019 was a rough year for the high street. Customers might be spending more than ever, but they’re spending it online, opting for heavily-discounted goods from digital giants over more expensive independents.
So what can you do to grab a customer’s attention from the allure of online sales? And, more importantly, how can you make sure you’ve got a customer for life, not just for Christmas?
Here are our 4 top tips for keeping customers close this Christmas.
1. Get specific with your discounts
When trying to keep up with the big guns, it’s tempting to offer a widespread discount across everything (even if it’s not as high as others). But 10% off everything, especially if you’re not a household name, isn’t likely to move the needle much on sales.
Targeted discounts, on the other hand, are more likely to make a difference. Use data on your existing customers to determine what they’re most likely to buy, and offer them a discount on that specific item. A generic discount might not tempt someone to buy from you. But a discount on something they were thinking of buying anyway? That would do the trick.
2. Keep them coming back for more
Positive, personalised and engaging customer experiences are a key way physical stores can differentiate from online competition. And a great way to do this is to offer a loyalty scheme or subscription service.
Loyalty schemes – with exclusive offers for in-store purchase – increase footfall and keep customers coming back; while subscription services prompt people to try new things regularly.
3. Get your staff engaged
That positive, personalised and engaging customer experience we talked about? Your frontline staff should be the embodiment of that. Online shopping might have the advantage when it comes to convenience and high discounts, but brick-and-mortar stars have a unique opportunity to deliver amazing, face-to-face service.
And the best way to make sure your employees are helping you stand out?
Keep them engaged. Engaged employees are happy employees, and happy employees are more likely to go above and beyond for customers. It’s no wonder then that 35% of organisations are taking steps to improve employee engagement as part of their customer engagement strategy.
4. Be consistent
Even the most independent, small-scale enterprises need to have an online presence now. But too many businesses – big and small – fail to connect their in-store experience with their online one. Often, buying in-store feels completely different from buying online. And that just doesn’t fly with customers these days.
Whatever your business, take time to make sure your online experience is as personalised and friendly as your in-store one – and your in-store experience is as quick and seamless as your online one.
The festive period is always high pressure for retailers – big and small, on- and offline. But by taking the time to consider the experience you’re offering, you can capitalise on Christmas spending and attract and retain customers that will stick with you well into the new year.