5 Tips To Better Support Holiday Shoppers

Holiday music may be playing in the background, but that doesn’t always mean customers are in the holiday spirit. Often, consumers are stressed and anxious during the holidays due to many things beyond your control. Yet shopping is on their to-do-list, whether they like it or not. Your goal is to make them like it as much as they can – and ideally, keep their shopping in your store or at least within your shopping community.

To help achieve happy customers this holiday season, consider the following tips:

1. Recognize that outside stress often comes with customers into your stores. Kids in tow? Have a designated play area that allows parents to shop with more ease. Weather bad? Offer to hang their coats, securely take their bags, and relief  them of the cold outside. In a rush? Have some popular gift items already wrapped and ready to go, allowing you to simply make a suggestion on what to buy and have it rung up quickly.

2. Accept that not all customers will be in the holiday spirit. This may mean not all customers are shopping for the holidays, and many may not even be celebrating the holidays – whether Christmas, Hanukkah or any other holiday. Remember to always use generic greetings, as well, during this time period that may include “Happy Holidays” vs. “Merry Christmas” unless you are 100% certain you are speaking to someone celebrating a certain holiday.

3. Identify store return policies both on your receipt and by your cash wrap. If you have any special exceptions to your normal store return policies, make this very clear in all your communication – both written and verbal. It’s important store associates also identify these policies to customers as they check out so there are no misunderstandings. Asking for customer initials by this policy on your receipt is a good idea, as well.

4. Offer beverages and easy, festive snacks. If you have a coffee and specialty drink machine that makes individual servings, consider getting hot chocolate and having marshmallows to add to them. This is simple, yet thoughtful and memorable. It’s also something you can throw together last minute without any planning – making it perfect for your random VIP customers or for that matter, any customer. Cookies, holiday candy and locally made treats are also great options for snacks to offer customers who just may need a little bite to hold them over while shopping.

5. Deliver gifts to out of town customers or those receiving gifts from your customers.Traditionally, customers shop online to ship presents out of town or head to their local post office and ship them themselves. Yet if you promote this as a service you offer, you can save your customers time… which is priceless for many customers. Identify how you will support them here, and list it  as a holiday service you provide. Attach a flat fee to it based on product size or weight, then include all the extra touches they’d want in a holiday present being shipped. Gift wrapped, gift receipt included and easy for your customers… perfect!

Finally, amplify your customer service in all categories during the holidays. Your store may stand out  in merchandising, marketing, inventory and many other areas, but if your store customer service isn’t top notch this holiday season, customers will spend their money elsewhere. Have employee training meetings and holiday kick off events that get your team in the holiday spirit, as well as helps train your team and any new hires or seasonal workers. Less is never more here – be effective in your employee training and in your customer service for a stellar, stand-out holiday season.






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