This year, the holiday shopping season will be much different for retailers than it ever has been. Shopping behavior, supply chain issues, and social distancing measures have all created huge challenges for brick-and-mortar stores, and it’s important to keep this all in mind as we head into one of the biggest revenue-makers for physical retailers. This year, more than ever, it’s important to think outside the box and create new ways of preparing stores for new ways of shopping.
Efficiency Is Key
Your customers are looking for a streamlined shopping experience, spending as little time as possible in-store looking for what they need. Shoppers will avoid lines or busy stores and will think about how they travel through the aisles and plan for their trip inside. Merchandising displays should be clearly labeled, optimized for grab-and-go shopping, and spaced apart to maintain social distancing. Add point-of-sale displays for impulse buys or quick last-minute purchases that are close to the checkout register. Take it a step further and offer appointments for shoppers who want some peace of mind that they won’t have to stand in line or lack space to pick up their items.
Double Down On Marketing
If you haven’t already started rolling out your holiday marketing campaigns, what are you waiting for? Shoppers are getting a major jump-start this year, and your messages need to reflect that to stand out from the competition. Use social media and email content to educate shoppers about the special measures you’ve taken to keep them safe in your store, any discounts or incentives, and even post-holiday sales and specials for those who received a gift card or need to make returns. Give your brand visibility that helps it stand out during a time when consumers are being particular about where they spend their money.
Follow Changing Customer Behavior
Because we’re all staying at home much more these days, retailers need to shift their approach to meet the shifting demands of customers. Working from home and virtual school means that needs and interests have changed, and it takes a little research to find out where your core demographic has pivoted. If you’re a retailer that leveraged holiday gatherings and parties in the past, you’ll need to take a different approach with your merchandising displays and marketing messages. Instead, help customers create new traditions based on at-home experiences.
Dive Into Digital
If you offer eCommerce options in addition to the physical retail experience, now is the time to get your website in top shape. Work with an expert to ensure everything is working as it should, there are no technical glitches, your location information is correct, and visitors have the phone number or email address they need to get in touch. While you’re at it, take a look at your business social media accounts and look to see that contact info is correct and hours of operation are clear and updated in real-time. Add images of the inside of your store to assure shoppers that you’re taking the proper social distancing precautions and merchandising with efficiency and safety in mind. Both new and returning customers are likely to head online first to do their research before showing up in person, and you want to increase the odds they’ll choose you over the competition.
Remember Your Return Policy
Returns have always been a big part of the holiday shopping season. Make your return policy clear and concise, and share it widely on your website, inside the store, and throughout your social media content. In the past, these policies have been quite lenient around the holiday shopping season, but many retailers have opted to prohibit all or many items from being returned due to health and safety issues. If this is the case for your store, you certainly don’t want to lose repeat customers based on the confusion surrounding something like returns.
The bottom line is that your physical retail store needs to work harder than ever to offer new and returning customers an incentive to choose you over brick-and-mortar or eCommerce competitors. Taking a fresh and proactive approach to merchandising is crucial this holiday season takes some work, but that work is well worth the ROI for retailers — and we can help. It’s not too late to add merchandising and product displays to your store that drive revenue and support your overall holiday shopping strategy; our award-winning design services help you make an impact.