Here are some ways to take advantage of the increased footfall of the season
Between now and Christmas, you’re likely to see a boost in footfall in your store. You can capitalise on this extra traffic through clever promotions both in-store and online. Whether you choose something simple such as a giftwrapping service, or offer a discount on the finest partywear, you can increase your sales.
Festive promotions don’t necessarily have to be about discounts but you need to compete with the big retailers that are able to win over shoppers with low prices and free shipping. The reason people go to independent stores is because of the customer experience and that little something special they get.
What you offer to customers needs to make them feel special and as if they’re getting better quality and service than if they went to a big online retailer. Discounts will help to get shoppers in store but don’t price your items so low that you scrub all your profits. You need to find that sweet spot; so when considering a discount or deal, think about whether it’s worth it or if you’d still make more at full price without attracting those price conscious customers.
We’ve been looking at the vast range of promotions that have worked for retailers in the past. These include sales promotions but go beyond to attract customers looking for an experience only indie fashion retailers can provide.
Offer a gift wrapping service
Saving your customers time and effort by wrapping any gifts in-store can be a big draw. You can either offer this as a free service or you could perhaps tie it into any festive charity campaigns you’re doing by asking for a donation.
Pre-package best selling items
If you have a few items that often sell well together, you can package these together as gift boxes. It’s an easy way to increase the value of a sale while saving your customers some time when they pop in to pick out a few items for a loved one.
Don’t neglect social media at this time of the year. Even if you don’t sell online, social media is a powerful tool for getting people through your door. Make sure any Google Local listing is up-to-date with your address and opening times and once you get closer to Christmas, share you festive opening hours across Facebook and Twitter. If you run a very visual business and have been using Pinterest through the year, start to pin festive items including gifts and partywear. You can also encourage your customers to repin your items to spread that reach far and wide. While this tactic is something online retailers should absolutely be doing, it has benefit to bricks-andmortar retailers too. Just make sure to let people know how they can find you in the real world.
Keep content going out regularly across your social channels and focus on your customers. Include images where relevant and perhaps even consider a video tour of your store and latest collections.
If you can encourage customers to keep coming back to your store in order to get a reward, you’ll be able to help them through the entire festive buying process. From small gifts for colleagues and friends, through to larger gifts for family, as well as multiple outfits for a busy party season. A loyalty card can be as simple or as high-tech as you like. It could be stamps for every £10 (or £100, or some denomination in between, depending on your price point), with a free gift when they reach a certain number. Or, if you have a fancy EPOS system, you could implement a points system with a swipeable card. This is a fantastic way to keep customers coming back for more.
A free personal shopping service can allow you to upsell to your customers, while making them feel looked after. If you need to, you can take a deposit to secure their appointment, the value of which can be redeemed against any purchases. This is a great way to help a customer build a full festive outfit from your clothing but it’s a chance to create a rapport too. This will help to build loyalty and give the customer a real insight into your expertise as a fashion retailer.
Make sure you offer gift cards or vouchers so loved ones can buy them for your most loyal customers. You need to make it easy for those customers to hint to their family and friends that they’d like a voucher for your boutique. Promote this across social media as well as in-store.
Deals and discounts
Consider what your customers like to buy together and work out what you could add onto that to bring extra value in such a competitive market. Perhaps a free necklace when someone buys shoes and a dress together, or selling an accessory half price when purchased with another item. Always take your customers’ needs and tastes into account here as too many discounts or promotions can devalue what you do, making it harder to sell at full price in the future. Look for innovative ways you can add more value to the customer without eating into your profits.