by Kassandra Houseman
The holiday season is full of joy, but it can also create some added stress for many businesses and their customers. Inventory shortages and supply chain constraints are by far the biggest challenges retailers face during this shop-heavy time of year. While these seasonal obstacles are expected and planned for by most, pandemic-related disruptions are going to make this year even more challenging.
Here are five tips to help your retail business keep your customers happy throughout the holiday season:
1. Gift Card Incentives
Adopt unique ways to boost gift card purchases to reduce product demand and circumvent inventory shortages:
- Offer a small tangible gift alongside gift card purchases to make the gifting more of an experience for the giver and recipient, and to incentivize gift card purchases.
- Offer gift cards or vouchers that are the exact amount for a specific item in place of the physical gift, especially for more popular items, to present an alternative if items run out of stock.
2. Local Partnerships
Collaborate with local organizations to create new, unique gifting options that build brand recognition, while supporting your community:
- Partner with a local charity to pair a tangible gift with their donation receipts. Example: donate (or sell at cost) some small stuffed animals to your local Humane Society that they can give out to donors. Or sell donation certificates in your store with a small stuffed animal as a gift with donation.
- Offer local venues an opportunity to sell gift cards in your store – at a reduced profit or no cost – to support your community and bolster in-store foot traffic. One note on this: robust commerce systems are needed by both your retail organization and the business providing the gift card, so you’ll likely need to partner with some of the larger businesses in your area to facilitate this.
Be more targeted and personalized with your discounts to boost sales and loyalty during this competitive time of year:
- Offer bigger discounts to new customers to incentivize purchases and build new business.
- Present specialized recommendations and offers to current customers based on their purchase and search history, including suggesting alternative product recommendations for out-of-stock items and notifying them when those items are back in stock.
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4. Holiday-Only Offers
Incentivize ideal shopping behavior with adoption and promotion of ‘limited time’ holiday-only offers to help thwart fulfillment challenges, promote business, and enhance CX:
- Offer in-store and buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) purchase deals to incentivize these shopping methods and reduce final mile struggles and backups with pickup and delivery.
- Expand the return window to spread-out return and exchange requests and reduce the possibility of overwhelming your staff and operations right after the holiday season ends.
5. Proactive Communication
Send out frequent and timely communications about seasonal offers and deals, inventory updates, and other relevant information:
- Leverage multiple communication channels to get this info out to your customers, including social, email, your mobile app, and even snail mail.
- Consider setting up a resource hub on your website and app for customers to access all holiday-related updates and information.
The unique challenges brought on by the holiday season can impact customer experiences, operations, and staff morale. However, retailers can proactively combat these challenges by empowering their customers with the information and resources they need to get their holiday shopping done without friction or hassle.
Avtex helps retailers transform customer experience and differentiate their brand by combining industry expertise with our cutting edge, end-to-end CX design, orchestration, and consultation services. In other words, we can help your retail organization deliver a high-value experience that will keep you off your customers’ Naughty Lists year-round.