The competition for Christmas shopping dollars is fierce, so small retailers really have to go the extra mile to bring in Christmas sales. Whether a potential customer has dropped into your bricks-and-mortar store or is visiting your business online to do some Christmas shopping, the question is always the same; "Why should I buy this here instead of somewhere else?"
The answer depends a great deal on how you treat him or her. To get a person to do her Christmas shopping at your business, you need to make the Christmas shopping experience special. Good customer service, of course, is one way you strive to do this. Another thing you can do is gift your customers, rewarding them for choosing to patronize your business.
Here are five ideas for gifting your customers that will help increase Christmas sales and possibly increase customer loyalty, too.
1) Provide a free Christmas gift wrapping program.
The weeks leading up to the holiday season are a hectic period for many people who are anxious to get their Christmas shopping over with so they can get on with their other holiday preparations. By offering customers to wrap their chosen gifts for free, you're offering to take one more chore off their hands - a gift so inviting that it will make the Christmas sale for you in some cases. If an across-the-board Christmas gift wrapping program is prohibitively expensive, you might modify it by offering free gift wrapping on items over a certain value, for example.
2) Give a charitable gift with each purchase.
The holiday season is truly the season of giving and many of your customers will be pleased to see that the gifts they buy when they choose to do their Christmas shopping at your business will do double duty, gifting a charity as well as their chosen gift recipients.
You can set up this charitable gift giving program as a straight dollar amount or as a percentage of Christmas sales, although dollar amounts are more transparent to people I think. Choose one particular charity as the recipient of your donation or choose several to make your gift appeal to as many customers as possible.
3) Provide free shipping or delivery.
This one is a natural as it leaves more money in customers' pockets when they buy your products. Customers love it! But as a small business, you’ll have to do the math and see if the potential increase in Christmas sales is affordable, what with the cost of shipping. Much will depend on exactly what your products are and how much it costs to deliver them to the customer. Probably the best idea if you're going to do this is to offer free shipping or delivery on orders totaling over a certain dollar amount.
4) Give customers a discount.
Straight, right-off-the-purchase-price discounts are also extremely popular with customers. There are all kinds of variations of this idea that you could use to reward Christmas shoppers. One of my favourites is to use scratch-and-win type tickets. When customers buy an item, they get a ticket which gives them a chance to "win" a discount ranging from 5 to 40 percent. Customers seem to like the game format and as a retailer, this gives you the chance to offer some really deep discounts for a few lucky shoppers.
5) Give customers gift cards.
I can't even think of a large retailer who doesn't have a customer loyalty program. They can be a real boost to sales. But because of their cost and administrative burden, they haven't been a feasible option for small businesses. Now they are, and you can use them to increase your Christmas sales.
StickyStreet.com, for instance, offers a variety of customer loyalty programs including gift cards that are easy and inexpensive for small businesses to implement. Another option is the AIR MILES Bonus Card. You can customize these cards with your business logo, preload them with Air Miles, and just hand them out to customers.
Giving to Customers Will Reward Your Business
These are just five ideas for enticing potential customers to do their Christmas shopping at your business rather than elsewhere. If you haven't gifted your customers in the past, it's time to start a new Christmas tradition. By giving to your customers, you're also giving your business the chance to increase your Christmas sales.