Shine Bright This Holiday Season

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Tweet Chat last week. We had some fantastic questions and lively discussion. We thought we would share some of the conversations with you as you prepare your stores for what will be a fabulous holiday season. For those of you who did participate, hopefully this will be a good reminder of some of the things we discussed. Have a wonderful holiday and an excellent kick-off to the season.

Here are some questions and answers that may help you prepare for the holidays in your store:

What recommendations do you have regarding Black Friday?

Trends are getting earlier and earlier. If other stores in your area are open, then in order to make it convenient for your customers, you should be too. BUT if your store is special, people will shop there ALL season so don’t get caught up BF open early craze. For independents, if you are in a mall vs. near other stores there could be other factors at play. You need to be open for your customers.

If you are in an area where you are an isolated store that’s ok but if there are other neighboring stores whom are open early, you should be too. Note that regardless you should communicate your hours to your customers in advance!

How can I compete with the big stores, especially when they can offer all kinds of crazy Black Friday promotions?

Make it a holiday in store, offer items and services not found elsewhere. Unless you can compete on price, don’t try to do so. If your customers will come anyway, and you are not hurting for sales, open at a reasonable hour that works for you instead of getting caught up in the hype. Do something special, breakfast, drinks, team up with other stores for a block party. Have little things in the store to help people relax while shopping. Make it festive! Have music, hot drinks & basics like wrapping, simple returns/exchanges and ongoing contests/ events.

If you are worried about food & drink in the store, check out last month’s newsletter, in our eyes, there should be NO rules in retail.

There is so much going on around the holidays, what marketing can I do that will stand out from everything else?

Use social media. Make use of your customer database. Email customers, give out samples, hold events, get signs and employees on sidewalk, have fun. And make sure that FB, Twitter, and your website are all consistent with your marketing messages.

Should I have a special holiday return policy?

Your holiday return policy should be the same as your year round policy: simple, no hassle, and cash back (yes, we know you hate that but you are in business for your customers so give them what THEY want, not what is easiest for you!)