Holiday Hints for Better Sales: Focus on Customers” "Pain Points" During the Holiday Season

Soothe your weary customers’ pain to liven holiday sales.

Take advantage of the seasonal spending spike and increase your small business sales. To maximize holiday transactions, the Sloan brothers offer this series of six key strategies.

Your goal this holiday season is to convert the maximum number of shoppers into buyers before the holidays end. One way is to take a thoughtful inventory of your shoppers’ “pain points” and serve up solutions to make the hurt go away.

Make it easy to get holiday merchandise: Now might be the time to drop your shipping fees to a low flat rate – then take another step. Shoppers buying last-minute gifts online may have stepped over the time-line for shipping. One strategy is to allow customers to order online, then pick up their purchases at your store. Best Buy does it, and has found that, of its online customers who picked up orders at its stores, close to 60 percent made more purchases while there.

Have the holiday gifts they’re looking for: Ask a parent of a young child about holiday pain points and they’re likely to tell you about fruitless trips to umpteen stores in search of a Tickle Me Elmo doll. There’s nothing worse to a holiday shopper than knowing what he or she wants to buy, but not being able to get their hands on it. It takes some forecasting to spot the year’s must-haves, but they’re often telegraphed well ahead of the rush. Ensure that your supply chain is set up to deal with frenzied customer demand.

Ensure your Web site is easy to navigate: Understanding how shoppers interact with your web site can offer powerful clues to what’s compelling them to buy and what isn’t. Make it easy to search and easy to buy. Retain customer information so they can enjoy one-click shopping the next time, but be sure to tell them all that it’s your practice to do so. Better still – give them the choice to opt out. Many would rather fill in their information again than permit you to store that data.

Surprise shoppers with a holiday discount: Customers don’t expect to find products at their cheapest when the demand for them is highest. Surprise your customers with a truly discounted product right in the middle of the holiday season. That’ll get their attention, ease their pain – and give them something to remember.

Provide a promotional giveaway: Offering free gift-wrapping service is a no-brainer, but how about a two-for-one promotion, a discount on a stress-relieving massage at a local spa, or a certificate for a free dessert at a local restaurant? Shoppers love to get things free as they’re digging deep into their wallets to buy holiday gifts.

Give holiday consumers some options: Procrastination can kick in big time for customers who are short on cash around the holidays. Give them the option of using a credit card, or making delayed payments on your product. Or how about springing for the sales tax on big-ticket items? That may be the clincher holiday shoppers didn’t know they were looking for.

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