With November well underway, one of the busiest seasons for retail has begun.
According to the National Retail Federation’s 2015 holiday consumer survey, holiday spending will be comparable to last year, with retail sales expected to rise 3.7 percent. Consumers plan to spend an average of $805 on holiday merchandise, the study says.
With the biggest shopping weekend of the holiday season approaching, there are many important factors retailers should be taking into consideration, including promotions, sales, merchandising and advertising. The North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) has a few tips to offer on small ways to make Black Friday a successful experience for your customers and staff members alike.
Use Social Media Effectively
It’s old news that customers spend a large amount of time on social media and on websites reading product reviews and descriptions, as well as browsing for gift ideas. Shoppers’ experiences with your store on social media may influence their decisions on whether to shop at your business during the holidays, so it is crucial to make your store visible on social websites.
Consider implementing a holiday social media campaign with graphics and photos highlighting the Black Friday sales and promotions happening in your store. Facebook and Pinterest are useful tools that allow you to have several touch points with your customers at no cost and with minimal effort. Read more about using social media during the holidays.
Leverage Your Power as a Local Business
NRHA and Independent We Stand’s Home Sweet Home Study shows that for every $500 spent at your local home improvement store this Black Friday, $115 will stay in your community. Research also shows that consumers are making a greater effort to shop local.
The holiday season provides opportunities for you to leverage the findings of the Home Sweet Home Study to show your customers the local economic impact your business makes. Use the free Hometown for the Holidays marketing package, which includes signage and press release. Use the information while participating in Small Business Saturday and other shop local initiatives in your community to maximize your influence as an independently owned business.
Put Your Customers First
One large area that often distinguishes independent home improvement stores from the competition is the exceptional level of customer service offered in store. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the holiday season distract you from always putting the customer first. Reward your customers for choosing your store this Black Friday. Some ideas for incentives to shoppers include giving a special coupon to your Black Friday customers, entering their names into a drawing for a giveaway or simply offering rain checks on sold-out items so that all customers can to take advantage of holiday specials even after items sell out.
Show Your Staff Some Love
During the holidays, your employees are likely not only spending extra hours at work, but also making a greater effort to provide a high level of customer service and keep the store clean and organized. You may not be able to give holiday bonuses or time off, but you can find plenty of low-dollar ways to thank your staff. Consider offering breakfast or lunch in the break room on Black Friday, or send personalized thank you cards to each of your employees who put in extra work during the holidays. For more employee appreciation ideas, click here.
Implement Loss Prevention Best Practices
Extra foot traffic on Black Friday naturally increases the risk of theft in your store. Take measures to ramp up your loss-prevention tactics during the holidays. Some ways that you can decrease loss in your store include training your staff on loss-prevention techniques, increasing the number of employees on the salesfloor during busy times and hiring loss-prevention officers for Black Friday if security isn’t regularly present in your store. Click here for more tips on loss prevention.