By Lisbeth Calandrino—When I was in the flooring retail business, I had a love/hate relationship with holiday seasons. Business was booming and there was never any time to shop until the last minute. By then, the stores were empty and the fun was gone.
Instead of lamenting, I realized that what I could do was make my store the community hub—a place where people gather. I thought why not decorate every inch of the store, as well as the parking lot, and celebrate with my employees. We all became Secret Santas; it was so much fun. We also included customers in the celebration.
The holidays will be different this year, given the impact that the pandemic has had—and continues to have—on indoor gatherings. This means you’ll need to get creative to make it special for your employees and your customers. Try conducting a brainstorming session with everyone and come up some neat holiday ideas. The pandemic has left many of us very cautious so plan how you can connect with customers who are not coming into the store.
Look for community partners. Who can you include building your hub? If you’re in a mall, I suggest you talk with the mall owners and determine how much space you can use. You might not be able to use the parking lot, but you can join in with the tenants and use the sidewalks. Have special sales, serve beverages, cookies and, of course, hire a Santa.
You don’t have to spend a fortune. Decorate with holiday trees, wreaths and ornaments and decorations. You can even give away trees, wreaths, decorations with a purchase. Depending on where you live, you can have an outdoors’s farmer’s market with all kinds of goodies. Again, include some goodies with each of your sales. The higher the sales ticket, the more goodies you can give the customer.
How about this idea: host a holiday countdown and have gifts or fun items for purchase over a specific period. Don’t forget door hangers and time-sensitive offers. Team up with another business and share gift certificates. What about connecting with another home furnishing business? You can combine your databases and your offers. Use your social media to market your events, and don’t forget to take photos.
Celebrate all the holidays invite your customers to join you. You can celebrate holidays such as Qwanza, Hanukkah and Kisan Diwas and decorate your store to reflect the different occasions.
You can talk with your customers about what they’re celebrating and have them help you with the decorations. This is great copy for your social media pages.
How about a gift delivery service? Send out a gift and card during the holiday season. Give out coupons to the grocery store for turkeys for customers who spend a certain amount of money. Suggest your customers “gift” themselves as well as others. How about an event for your VIP customers? How can you do something special for them during the holidays?
This is the season to give back to the community. There are many people hurting in our communities, and food insecurity is still a big issue. You can hold a contest or raffle and give part of the proceeds to a not-for-profit. This is a great time to collect pet food, toys, clothing, etc.
Whatever you decide to do to share in the holiday spirit with your customers, have some fun doing it. You won’t regret it.
Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at email@example.com.