It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are fast approaching. Kids are on their best behavior to make sure they land on Santa’s “nice” list while adults are starting to loosen up their purse strings in anticipation of the gift-giving season. It’s not a question of if consumers will spend money, but rather where they’ll spend it and what they’ll spend it on.
As a tourist-based destination, you need to quickly capture customer attention because the reality is, your customers may not come to your store again between now and the holidays. Keeping this in mind, it’s important to make sure they’re aware that you can offer the products they want and need. The question is, how do you achieve this? Below, discover five simple ways.
Gather Data and Personalize Your Emails
Touching base with customers to send offers, reminders, and updates is essential to staying top of mind, but you can’t effectively accomplish this without the right data. What were the most popular items with customers last year? What types of promos did they respond to best? Determine what worked during previous holiday seasons and incorporate those elements this year, which can be done by digging into behavioral data through your POS or in-store analytics programs or even talking to customers themselves.
Once you have that data, send emails that are relevant, engaging, and timely to your customer database. For tourist customers in particular, they will appreciate receiving something that reminds them of a past trip. Plus, they’ll appreciate getting emails that are actually relevant to their needs – helping them to want to make a purchase with you. Make sure you identify the ability to welcome phone orders, online order and of course, in store purchases alike via these emails.
Get Social Media Savvy
You’re already on social media for your business… or at least you should be… so use that to your holiday advantage — especially on image-centric sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Not only can you showcase your products, but they can be filtered into customer searches of your local area. For example, if you have a store in a tourist destination identified simply by the town name, make sure to use that hashtag to increase your reach of potential customers. Another tips? Offer “Gifts for Her” and “Gifts for Him” ideas in your posts.
Additionally, leverage selling platforms such as Like2Buy that makes your Instagram feed shoppable. By creating a Like2Buy site, users are taken to that item’s product page when they click on an image, so they can learn more or better yet, easily proceed to checkout and give you a sale.
Offer Convenient Services
As a tourist-based shopping destination, many of your customers are on vacation, which means that convenience is key — especially around the hectic holiday season. Free gift wrap (and carefully wrapping up fragile items for travel) can take away one step they have to do in the future. Consider offering services like click-and-collect, in-store pickups, and other services
in your store and be sure to broadcast them to your customers. While they might not immediately make a purchase on that visit, they’ll know they can get what they want — and from your store — when making those holiday purchasing decisions.
Provide Education and Value
A lot of retail establishments will be fighting for the attention of customers this time of year, so it’s not enough to just offer deals and expect customers to spend. You have to stay on the customer’s radar by providing content that engages and educates them both in store and online. Publish insightful blog posts about your destination, informative guides about where your products come from and what they can do, or find your own unique way to provide value beyond simply offering up a deal. Host in-store events, as well, that deliver both an experience and insight to your customers about the products you sell. Better yet? Make it a festive event, as well!
Get Involved In the Community
The holidays are a great time to help spread goodwill and reinvigorate the people around you, and getting involved also keeps you top-of-mind with customers. Look for opportunities to host charity driven events in your store or sponsor a charitable cause that’s close to your heart.
Another tip? Take part in Small Business Saturday, which saw 108 million shoppers spend $12.9 billion in 2017 at independently owned businesses. While many of your shoppers won’t be locals, that shouldn’t deter you as a retailer given that 64 percent of respondents said that the reason for shopping small was to support small businesses. When they’re on vacation, they don’t want to go to the same stores that they shop at when home. You’re in the position to offer them an experience — and purchases — that they can’t get anywhere else.
Most of all, remember the reason for the season and welcome every customer — tourist or local — with open arms. Engage them with clever displays and festive decor, pipe in some holiday music, and charm them with friendly conversation. They won’t want to leave without taking something home with them as a souvenir — and stuffing the stockings of their friends and family with a few gifts from your store, as well. Finally, to help your store get holiday ready, attend the upcoming IGES show!
By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle