What would Attract Holiday Shoppers to Real World Stores

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“Brick-and-mortar retailers have a massive opportunity to capture last-minute holiday shoppers. Research indicates that in 2016, more than 35% of consumers planned to wait until Christmas Eve to finish their shopping,” – SmallBizTrends.com

The annual shopping and holiday season that marks the end of the calendar year represents one of the greatest selling opportunities for merchants and seller establishments. Years of research and deep dives into consumer behaviour indicate that shoppers spend billions of dollars during the year-end holiday season culminating in Christmas and the New Year. However, e-commerce technologies have engineered a marked shift in consumer practices in that a majority of shopping has shifted to the online domain. Consequently, brick-and-mortar establishments have struggled to attract holiday shoppers in modern times. We will examine some strategies that may help traditional retailers to overcome the limitations imposed by e-commerce below.

Real world stores and establishments can choose to create fabulous product displays in attractively themed show windows. The creation of these displays can coincide to commence with the annual shopping season. We note that consumers and prospective customers are innately curious beings; therefore, such creations can attract significant levels of public attention and attract holiday shoppers to physical stores. Interesting lighting options can focus consumer attention on new products in the displays. In addition, signage that announces discounts can help to boost footfalls inside these shopping establishments.

Modern businesses collect volumes of information regarding their customers and consumers. The mobile phone number represents a wonderful window that enables brands and businesses to access and engage with individual consumers. Therefore, traditional businesses can elect to attract holiday shoppers by sending them commercial text-based messages. Limited time offers and last-minute ‘sale’ campaigns represent the typical content of such marketing communications. We note that the majority of modern consumers carry at least one mobile phone and therefore, such marketing campaigns offer a very high return on investment for commercial sponsors. In addition, the immediacy of a text message helps to drive customer engagement. The addition of abbreviated web links in these messages also encourages customers to explore various commercial offerings through cellular devices. We note that these techniques assist real world retailers to attract holiday shoppers irrespective of the calendar month.

Traditional stores can explore vintage marketing techniques to attract holiday shoppers. For instance, a traditional large format store can offer customers a gift when the shopping bill exceeds a certain dollar value. This gesture will likely win the business the goodwill of its customers. A variation of this technique is manifest when the same business offers free home delivery within four hours of transactions at the physical store. This tactic enables customers the freedom to decide on their next course of activity once they exit the store premises. Further, traditional businesses can rely on the power of personalized interactions inside the business premises in a bid to boost customer engagement. We note the said techniques hinge on enabling customer convenience, thereby helping traditional stores to attract holiday shoppers.

Mobile and Internet technologies offer a potent marketing tactic to real world stores. The technology that enables geo-fencing affords these businesses an opportunity to attract holiday shoppers through electronic means. For instance, brick-and-mortar businesses can invest in technologies that enable them to broadcast ‘offers’ to all cellular devices located within a certain geographical area. These commercial offerings can be refreshed on a daily basis thereby keeping customers abreast of every shopping opportunity as it emerges in a certain neighbourhood. In addition, groups of shoppers that enter a traditional retailer can avail custom discounts designed to encourage shopping behaviour. Further, traditional businesses can opt to ignite shopping trends by offering digital coupons to customers as they enter the premises. We note that these tactics can attract holiday shoppers and encourage them to explore the offline world of modern retail.

Local radio and local television channels can help real world businesses to further their commercial objectives. We note that this tactic essentially hinges on public relations; the fact that these stores feature in weekly radio and television broadcasts can drive footfalls and attract holiday shoppers. An interesting variation to this tactic is created when bloggers narrate their experiences of shopping in traditional brick-and-mortar establishments. Blog followers and readers will likely visit said establishments thereby creating a spike in sales. In a similar vein, social media handles can adroitly shape consumer trends and behaviour. In light of the above, we encourage traditional businesses to invest in media publicity and engage with customers through the blogosphere.

Commercial partnerships can be viewed as force multipliers in the real world. Traditional businesses can elect to team with online business operators in a concerted bid to attract holiday shoppers. This partnership essentially spotlights collaboration wherein, physical stores create special display areas to spotlight online product offerings. This tactic enables the business to expand the concept of customer choice by enabling customers to access the look-and-feel of new products. We note that certain online business operators have already implemented this technique through product “experience zones” that are designed to attract customers. This approach to conducting business finds validation in market research that indicates the fact that customers are more likely to invest in products when they encounter these in real life.

Real world businesses should work to enlist in online search directories and product review websites. This approach is critical because a majority of modern customers use search engines and mobile technologies to decide on their choice of product. We note that this tactic will likely attract holiday shoppers because search directories and review sites enable customers to form an informed opinion prior to investing their dollars. Further, such listings enable customers to discover a business in crowded urban locations. Review websites also enable customers to evaluate and assess competing products and services. In light of the above, we may state that the online and the offline domains must necessarily co-exist and co-operate to achieve favourable business outcomes.

Events such as small fashion shows, children’s story hour, a raffle, in-store promotions, and flower shows organized on business premises can attract holiday shoppers. These events are likely to attract large numbers of visitors and may prompt conversions. Businesses need to plan these events carefully to coincide with the general festive spirit. Further, these activities showcase the social commitment of an offline business enterprise; the generally genial atmosphere can encourage transactions and help the business enterprise to achieve spectacular sales activity.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the techniques that enable traditional businesses to attract holiday shoppers. The use of creativity and intelligent positioning should enable these businesses to transact in significant volumes. Intelligent business operators must refine the tactics that ignite customer interest and encourage shopping habits. Brands and businesses should also work to cater to each customer with thoughtful attention; this tactic should help customers to feel ‘special’ and engage in higher volume transactions. Further, business operators must explore traditional methods such as human sales personnel to engage with shoppers. We note that the human factor is indispensable to modern selling because customers can easily relate to another human being. Top-notch store decor and multiple product lines should easily attract holiday shoppers. A combination of these suggestions should empower traditional business enterprises to gain a higher share of the customer’s wallet during this festive season.

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