Campaign 2019 How you sell more at Holiday
When Q4 rolls around, people start hanging Christmas lights, planning family get-togethers, stocking up on booze for said family get-togethers — and buying gifts.
It’s true, the last quarter of the year is great for sipping eggnog, but it’s also when big and small businesses alike make or break their revenue goals, often making 20-30 percent of their annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation. With the average holiday shopper purchasing 16 gifts during the season, wintertime is sales time. We’ve compiled the 10 things brands and retailers can do to boost revenue during the holiday season — and keep customers coming back for more.
We’ve compiled the 10 things brands and retailers can do to boost revenue during the holiday season — and keep customers coming back for more.
1. Start early.
When it comes to getting ready for the holidays, luck favors the prepared.
Your competitors are not waiting for the weather to cool down to start planning, and neither should you. 40 percent of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween, so don’t wait to invest in the most important season for retail and revenue — start early.
2. Understand your customers’ new shopping behavior.
The consumer buying journey is no longer linear, and it’s evolving with technology.
Buyers are inundated with information in their social media channels, ads and emails. Your window for influencing a buying decision is shrinking along with attention spans. Information overload means consumers need more help than ever when deciding what to buy. They also want the shopping experience to be simple and seamless. Make sure you’re taking steps to evolve with the new buying experience with:
- Product reviews on your site
- Posting regularly on your social media channels
- Training retail sales associates
3. Build an omni-channel strategy.
Consumers are looking for a remarkable experience at every touchpoint.
And each touchpoint needs to build upon the last. To understand how to build an omni-channel strategy, you’ll need to understand the three phases of the consumer buying journey.
Getting your name in the game.
Driving awareness establishes your brand as a credible player in the industry. It can be achieved through traditional advertising — radio ads, billboards and commercials — or social media marketing, online influencers’ endorsements or paid ads that show up in your target audience’s feed. Be present in those places that your customers frequent. Create personas and understand how, when and where they invest time in various channels.
Consumers read product reviews, ask knowledgeable friends and family and reach out to industry pros for advice on what to buy.
With 92 percent of people trusting recommendations from friends and 70 percent of people trusting the online opinions of their fellow consumers, these reviews and opinions help buyers narrow down their options and find the product that aligns with their personal preferences.
Seal the deal.
At this point in the journey, shoppers are ready to make a purchase. But up to 40 percent of consumers change their minds just before a purchase due to something they see or hear. That’s why sales associates are your most valuable asset at the end of the buyer’s journey (see #4).
Omni-channel marketing provides a better customer experience across every touchpoint. It’s about driving awareness, influencing consideration and promoting a purchase across multiple channels (online and inperson) to ensure a seamless experience. The modern consumer wants a better buying experience. They expect to view your products on your website, see them in-person at the store, download exclusive offers to their phone and share their purchase on social media. By aligning your message and design across many channels and through every touchpoint, you’re enhancing your marketing efforts while giving the customer a better experience.
4. Invest in your sales associates.
Educated retail sales associates sell more.
In fact, 49 percent of retail store managers claim that training and educating RSAs was the single most important factor to achieving their goals in brick-and-mortar.
Since the holidays consist of longer hours and more foot traffic, retailers often hire additional team members for the busy season. So hire early. Give yourself time to find sales associates who bring value to your team. And once you’re staffed for the season, set them up for success on the sales floor. 89 percent of retail sales associates say they spend more time assisting customers during the holiday season; and 61 percent of consumers claim it’s important or extremely important that stores have educated and informed RSAs to help them. So give your team the tools they need to surpass customer expectations. Empower them with the knowledge and experience they need to help your customers buy more confidently.
With platforms like ExpertVoice, sales associates gain the in-depth product information and firsthand experiences they need to help consumers find exactly what they’re looking for. And according to a January 2019 survey of ExpertVoice users, 85 percent say that training with ExpertVoice helps them make better recommendations to others about what to buy.
5. Compete with Amazon by offering something they can’t.
Selection. Price. Efficiency. We’ll admit it, Amazon’s got these things in the bag.
And while it may seem disheartening to compete with the retail giant, you can provide a few things Amazon cannot:
Online shopping has come a long way, but it still can’t replicate the touch and feel of the in-store experience. In fact, the 2019 State of Retail survey found that 78 percent of consumers typically shop in-store to “see and experience products.” So when customers walk in the door, it’s important to provide an experience that isn’t just transactional. Give them the time and attention they deserve. Help your customers find the right product for their needs. Develop a connection that isn’t contingent on commission. This will give them a reason not only to visit your store again, but to advocate for it.
Give your customers a reason to shop at your store by rewarding their purchases. For example, run a promotion that gives every customer who spends more than $50 a chance to win something cool. It doesn’t have to be a trip to Hawaii or a $500 gift card either, some free product or a small gift card work fine. These incentives can draw shoppers into your store, motivate purchases and even increase the average order size.
A sense of community.
If you’re a bike shop, organize weekly rides. If you’re a nutrition store, invite your customers to join an event to discuss the benefits of probiotics and sample some of the latest supplements. Birds of a feather flock together — wouldn’t it be nice if they hung out at your nest?
6. Turn shoppers into advocates.
Every customer who walks through your doors has the potential to become an advocate for your company. Educated retail sales associates sell more.
They could love their experience so much that they connect with you on Facebook, endorse you to friends and family or even post a glowing online review. Turn first-time buyers into store promoters through a strategic nurture system. Remind them why their visit was special enough that they should tell their friends about it. A good plan of action might look something like this:
Offer amazing customer service.
Not only does this give you an upperhand on Amazon (we’ll show you, Jeff Bezos) but it creates an experience to remember.
Ask for feedback — and implement it.
Show your customers that you care. Ask them to share their shopping experience, their satisfaction level and any additional thoughts. Gather these insights and most importantly, implement any necessary changes or great ideas.
Run social media contests.
Almost three billion people worldwide use social media. Running a contest on a social channel is a great way to generate customer excitement and engagement. Those shares, likes, and impressions drive organic visibility — increasing brand exposure, traffic and sales.
Send a note.
Customers still value a good email. Neil Patel, founder of QuickSprout, says, “in spite of social media’s viral potential, email still wins as the most disruptive method to reach and woo your customers.” Nurture your relationships with your customers by sending emails thanking them for their purchase, inviting them to share feedback and promoting special sales or events.
Customers referred by other customers are 4x more likely to make a purchase and are 18% more loyal than customers acquired by other means. By providing customers with special discounts or exclusive gifts for referring friends, you’re giving your loyal fan base a chance — and a reason — to advocate for your brand.
7. The impact of gift cards.
The most desired holiday present is a gift card — with 60 percent of people preferring it to other gifts.
Amplify the value of a gift card for a limited time to incentivize buyers to take advantage of the special deal and for gift card receivers to get to your store quickly and redeem the higher amount. For example, a gift card purchased for $50 in December can be redeemed for $65 before January 15th of the following year. Since 73 percent of adults intend to buy at least one gift card during the holiday season, getting in the gift card game can have a great impact on your Q4 sales.
8. UGC is worth a thousand ads.
76 percent of consumers trust content shared by “average” people more than by brands, and more than 90 percent of consumers trust recommendations from others.
If your customers are doing you the honor of sharing what they love about your brand on social media, you should engage with their posts. Like their user-generated content and repurpose their photos (with their permission) into ads or a featured gallery on your site. Engaging with authentic UGC not only increases your customers’ visibility — which they’ll love — it also boosts your credibility.
Women’s clothing company Aerie has firsthand experience with the benefits of customer UGC. Aspiring to promote body positivity, Aerie ran a campaign requesting that women post unedited photos of themselves with the hashtag #AerieREAL. While this campaign shed light on challenging “supermodel standards,” it also gave the brand a 20 percent increase in sales.
9. Skip the Dip.
While a successful holiday sales season is ideal, you don’t want to lose the momentum when Q1 comes around.
January and February are some of the lowest spending months for the average U.S. consumer — but they don’t have to be. Don’t be tricked into believing that the first few months of the year have to mean poor sales. You can whip Q1 into shape with a marketing campaign that’s focused on skipping the post-holiday sales dip.
10. Do something good.
‘Tis the season for giving, and 7 in 10 consumers 6 plan on being charitable during the holidays.
Join the movement. Show your customers that you care about more than just sales and that by purchasing from you, they’ll be serving the greater good. According to a Nielsen survey, 66 percent of people are willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.
We all know the story of TOMS Shoes, for every pair of TOMS purchased, the company gives a pair to a child in need. Since 2006 the brand has donated more than 50 million pairs of shoes. It’s inspiring. And brands that inspire a higher emotional intensity receive 3x more word-of-mouth marketing than less emotionally-connected brands. So donate products to charity, sponsor local events and get involved however you can — especially during the holiday season — not just because it will be good for your brand, but also because it establishes you as a caring, committed part of your community.
Yes, the holidays are stressful for retailers and brands, but it’s important to remember how stressful it is for shoppers too.
Use these tips to increase sales and to improve the experience for your customers during the holiday season.
And if you want to boost your revenue and create brand loyalists every season, consider partnering with the world’s largest advocacy marketing platform today.
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