With an ever-changing and very competitive retail landscape, brands need to make sure they fine-tune their marketing efforts each year, to not only stand out from the rest but to also provide the best value and service to their customers during such a busy and rush retail period.
Customers are much smarter, and more aggressive when it comes to getting what they want, when they want it, and for the price they want. When I operated my first business (a high-end fashion boutique), I always had to find ways to be more unique when engaging with my clients to entice them to come in-store or jump online to see my latest collection. My goal was to make their shopping experience a memorable one, as well as making it as easy and stress-free as possible.
From my experience in retail, combined with my current experience as a digital and business consultant, I’ve compiled a list of ways you can drive the value of your service and/or product, which will make you stand out from your competitors this Christmas.
1. Don’t offer the same cliché or cheesy marketing and promotional offers as those around you – Stand out!
Retailers need to offer products/services that consumers want (and not for the sake of offering something).
Some of my least favourite (and sometimes useless) offers include:
– Spend and save – Spend $200 and receive a $20 Gift Card. These sorts of promotions are useless to consumers as they not only expect but demand on the spot value.
– Buy two and get X% off the second item – Don’t punish customers if they only buy one thing, reward them for buying one item as well as enticing them to buy another for an even better reward.
– Spend $100 and get free shipping (are we still doing this?) shipping should be free.
When coming up with offers, you must always think:
– What value does this provide to my customer?
– Does it make their lives easier, does it make shopping with my brand more pleasurable and memorable?
Examples of my favourite offers include:
– Earn extra AMEX points when customers use their AMEX to buy certain items.
– Free (express) shipping and wrapping to either the customer or to their gift recipient.
– Free gift with any purchase (the gift should be the customers’ choice).
2. Be faster and better than your competitors
Customers have no time to wait and will expect the best price, service, and delivery times. I find it incredible that retailers still lack the fundamentals, such as slow customer service at peak times.
Here are some simple things you can do to ensure your relationship with your customer is as quick and as easy as possible this Christmas:
– Offer Free & Fast shipping as well as an estimated time of delivery. Customers want to know when their items will come, on what day and at what time.
– Offer Guaranteed Delivery.
– Have in place a super easy & hassle free return policy.
– Offer something for free with their purchase – something they can use or give to someone else.
– Offer Gift Wrapping and a card.
– Ramp up your customer support. Include ‘Live Chat’ on your website, make sure someone is monitoring your social media channels for customer questions around the clock. Make sure emails are replied to promptly. Customers will not wait hours for a reply and will go elsewhere simply because their questions have not been replied to. Today, I can count on one hand the brands in Australia who get back to me within hours of submitting an enquiring online – it’s just not good enough!
3. Be memorable
Think about all the touchpoints a consumer experiences when interacting with your brand.
What can you do right now to enhance these moments and get your customers talking about their shopping experience with you?
Somethings you can do to show you care about your customer could include:
– Contacting them to see if they have received their order – are they happy? Do they need anything else from you?
– After the rush season is over, find out what they thought of your service – what could you have done to make things even better?
– Touch base in January and offer something else based on what they bought leading up to Christmas to see if you can entice them to come in during those slow retail months.
– This is the perfect time to care about your VIP’s and not just have a VIP program like everyone else. Do something just for them.
4. Join forces with other brands or business to provide even more to your customer
Align yourself with another non-competing brand and see if there is a common way you both can provide even more value to your customer base. For example, a chocolate retailer could offer a Gift Voucher from a local day spa to their customers with each purchase. That customer could then re-gift that voucher or use it as a Secret Santa gift – enhancing the customer experience and giving both your brand and the local spa some more exposure.
5. Honour your sale price
Customers are annoyed when they buy something full price only to notice it goes on sale in January. A great retailer that honours their sale price well is Freedom Furniture. This brand honours their sale price by giving their customers an ‘in-store credit’ for the difference in price. I love this strategy because the consumer doesn’t feel left out, and the retailer will gain another purchase when they come back to use their in-store credit.
Could you do the same and offer a price guarantee?
If you have any other valuable tips that deserve to go on this list, please do not hesitate to comment below or email them to me. I’d love to add them in here.
You can read some of my digital marketing tips below: