It’s that time again, we are getting very close to it anyway, the holiday season! For the next few months, we will be inundated with advertising for the holidays. This will all end with a final “After Holiday Sale” when most sane people want to just be done with it all. The advertising on TV and on billboards generally starts in early October and it won’t exhaust itself until the end of January – many of us just wish we could time warp to February and miss all of it!
For people with a Bricks & Mortar store, this period has the potential to be a nightmare. Brick & Mortar stores don’t have the budget to be running expensive ads for 4-6 months – they need to rely on different techniques and use some “out of the box” ideas to boost sales during this time of great buying pressure. If you were to take your advertising and use some of the ideas presented here, you may notice a big difference in your bottom line.
Getting Ready for Thanksgiving Sales
So let’s use Thanksgiving as an example. The following ideas are simple, easy and generally inexpensive techniques, which you can use to make your store stand out and become an inviting place for customers to come and buy your products.
Make or buy decorations that revolve around Thanksgiving
- Have fall colored leaves on your product stands.
- Have displays of your products along with pumpkins and gourds.
- Have hanging pictures of turkeys or something to do with Thanksgiving.
I’m going a little overboard with this, but you get my drift!
Appealing to your Customers
Make your store a little cozy, homely place that makes your customers glad they came in – even if you sell socket wrenches or sporting goods.
There is a realtor’s trick I heard of a long time ago and it can be extremely useful for any business. When realtors are having an open house for folks to come in and see a house for sale, they have chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. The aroma of cookies baking will immediately lower any resistance people may have and make them more open to buying. You have immediately involved them on a sensory level – one that takes you back to when you were a kid and mom had fresh baked cookies ready for you when you got home from school.
Try to get something like this going in your store. Bake some cookies and have the aroma fill your shop, so that when a customer enters the door of your store, they will be eager to see what you are selling. Have a little giveaway when they enter your store
Have you ever been in a See’s Candy Store? The first thing that happens when you walk in is they give you a free sample of their candy, while you decide what you want to buy. This has proven to be a very effective technique!
Think about what your store can offer? How about some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies as customers walk in, or maybe a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day – something that will be pleasurable while browsing your store. Believe me, when they are greeted like this, they will be much more amenable to buying one of your products. Be attentive and knowledgeable
If you have salespeople make sure they are knowledgeable and friendly with your customers. Now I know most of you will go “Duh!” and you should – it really should be common sense to exhibit these two qualities. However, I cannot tell you how many times I have walked into a store ready to buy something and the salesperson either, doesn’t know if they have what I’m looking for, or if they do have it, they don’t know where it is. From time to time they’re even rude about it, as if I’m doing them a favor being there. At this point, I just turn around and walk out – they have lost my business. There is no excuse for a salesperson who is lazy, rude or unknowledgeable – absolutely none. Don’t push the sale or crowd the customer
If a customer is in your store browsing they will almost always have a question – when they do you can go over to them and answer it. The important thing is that once answered go back to what you were doing – don’t hover.
I never buy something when I am being pushed to buy, but I almost always buy something when left to my own devices. The customer usually knows what they want before they even walk in – if it’s not in your store don’t try to force them to buy something. If you push them too hard all they will remember is feeling pressured and not the wonderful warm feelings you created for them as they entered your store.
Letting them leave without purchasing anything is okay – If it was a pleasurable experience for them, they’ll be back. You can count on it! Create an easy and effortless shopping experience
This is important at any time of the year but during the holiday season its importance increases. Customers are stressed during the holiday season and stores can be extra busy so creating efficiency in your store will ensure the customer is comfortable. You need to create an environment where customers can shop in peace, as a stressed customer is not someone who buys thing easily. Make sure you follow the below guidelines and adapt them to your store as best you can.
- Have clean and clear walkways and make sure boxes aren’t cluttering up the shop
- Have beautiful displays showing your products
- Create a pleasant shopping experience that is fun
- Have holiday music and pretty decorations
- Make it as warm and inviting as you can
Embracing the Holiday Season Sales Rush
The holidays for most people are a very stressful time. They often have to spend money they don’t have on people they feel obliged to buy gifts for. Many people just want to get it done as quickly and as efficiently as possible. If your store can keep their stress levels to a minimum, you’re on to a winner with this type of customer.
You also have your shopping junkies who thrive on this stuff – they will eat you alive to get that last “whatever”. Ensure that your store is primed for this type of customer and your holiday sales could help you survive a quiet start to the new year.
If you understand how people act around the holiday season, you will quickly understand the path you need to take. If you take the time to create a warm, cozy and pleasurable experience for the folks who walk into your store, then your odds of having a successful holiday season are high. Achieving your sales target over the holiday season will hopefully mean a happy holiday season for you as well. Make the most of it and enjoy!
About the Author-
John Montana has been a successful salesman since 1990. He currently lives with his wife and travels between Chicago and Los Angeles. He created his site – Alternative Business Marketing Solutions to offer free tips and small business ideas on how to become more successful…no matter what your product is.