Four Ways to Stand Out From The Holiday Mass
By Megan Neary, Content Strategist, BDS Digital
As the holidays approach, the retail industry is switching into high-gear. The competition to attract holiday shoppers is fierce, and it sometimes seems as if the only way to stand out from the crowd is to dramatically cut prices. At BDSmktg, we’ve spent a lot of time studying this trend and have found that cutting prices isn’t the only way to stand out from the holiday mass. Here are some examples of more creative and engaging ways to connect with customers before you slash your prices.
1. Surprise and delight your customers to increase brand loyalty.
Surprise and delight initiatives are a great way to make a lasting, positive impression on your customers. A pre-holiday survey conducted by LoyaltyOne found that 34% of shoppers said surprise and delight initiatives led them to give more business to a brand. These can be different for every brand, but the central goal of making a lasting, emotional connection with a customer is always the same. An example of a company that has mastered this approach is Sephora, which offers customers surprise gifts on their birthdays. These small gifts of appreciation go a long way in making their customers feel special and, in turn, encourage long-term customer loyalty. From unlock & win discounts, to hot chocolate while browsing in store, there are so many small ways you can delight customers during their holiday shopping excursions.
2. Make your brand an enjoyable experience to remember.
Have you considered implementing an experiential marketing program to make a splash? The trend has been catching on not only at retail, but in other industries as well, for the past couple of years. According to Eventbrite, 79% of brand respondents said they would execute experiential marketing in the future. As an example, Hendrick’s Gin mastered the art of experiential marketing with a series of pop-up events that aligned with their quirky brand and transported consumers into a world of curiosities. The results were successful – 15,000 people found their way to these events in six cities (Chicago, New York, Boston, Austin, Texas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles) and the company saw a “dramatic 10.6% rise in operating profits.” Taking a cue from Hendricks Gin, ask us how you too can implement events, big or small, throughout the holiday season for maximum impact with consumers.
3. Empower sales associates for an improved customer experience.
Gearing up your sales associates with knowledge and customer service skills can help you to stand out from the crowd. The importance of sales associate interactions was evident in our Great Consumer Expectations white paper. According to our data, sales associate interactions are the aspect of the retail experience that are most commonly in need of improvement. Make sure to prepare associates with quick answers to shoppers’ questions through team huddles before and after store hours, constant email and text communications, and simple handouts with tips and tricks. By providing associates with a forum where they can ask their questions and learn about your products, they’ll walk away feeling confident and prepared for the hectic customer service push of the holidays.
4. Don’t just tell, show consumers your brand.
A survey conducted by the market research firm Morpace, found that the appearance of a store affected 95% of respondents’ decision to shop there. By clearly communicating your brand’s unique promise of value and portraying an engaging image throughout your retail space, you will make a lasting, positive impression with shoppers. Apple does a great job of using every inch of its retail space to communicate its brand. The all-glass storefronts are immediately recognizable and every inch of the store has the sleek, high-tech appearance that conveys their dominance in the field of consumer electronics. By maintaining your brand’s appearance despite the mad rush of the holidays, you’ll be sure to stand out from the crowd.
Each of the techniques above has one thing in common: they allow your brand to form a real, emotional connection with your customers. By forming such a connection, you can move beyond the mad rush for the lowest price and solidify your brand as the obvious choice for shoppers this holiday season. The market continues to grow more competitive each year as new brands enter the fray and online sales encroach, which means implementing new tactics to stand out from the holiday mass is more important this year than ever before.
Ready to take your brand to the next level? Contact BDSmktg to have custom program designed for you today!