by Nicole Leinbach Reyhle
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The Top Three Ways Retailers Can Connect with Customers this Holiday Season

Want to make the upcoming holidays the best yet as a retailer? Start by connecting with your customers.

With the average American estimated to spend more than $1K this holiday season, it’s vital to plan ahead in order to capture consumer dollars. But dollars alone won’t make this holiday season a success. Consumers are looking to gain more value and more meaning in their holiday spending, and that begins with merchants connecting with their customers.

To help capture the attention of both existing and potential consumers this holiday season, consider the three tips below.

Tip #1: Incorporate sentiment into your product assortment, marketing, and overall customer communication.

Research tells us opinions are formed in less than a second, and emotional responses to advertising are more likely to persuade a consumer to buy than the product or service itself that it supports. Keeping this in mind, retailers need to proactively aim to speak, sell, and support consumers based on sentiment. By aiming to understand their unique consumer audience, retailers can then strategically react to what this sentiment looks like for their target audience. One of the ways to do this includes incorporating inventory among your collective product assortment that offers a sentimental value in addition to the product itself. This may mean offering locally-sourced items, repurposing materials to create something new, or highlighting sustainable products. Additionally, commit as a store to donating a percentage of all store sales to a favorite charity during a specific timeframe, or even select specific items which, when purchased, will trigger a donation from you to a certain cause. The key is to share this message with your consumers so that they make purchases in part due to the sentiment attached to these efforts. From in-store signage to social media marketing to email newsletter updates and more, be sure to spread the word on how your store plans to speak, sell, and support customers this holiday season.

 

Tip #2: Leverage predictive analysis on customer behavior in order to create stronger profit from your customers.

Smart retailers are proactively preparing to capitalize on increased holiday spending. Among the most beneficial preparations will be to leverage artificial intelligence to predict what will resonate with customers and what won’t. Merchants can use AI-generated content to connect with consumers through compelling, relevant communication at every point on their customer journey. AI-generated content helps to strengthen store bottom line performances because it can connect with consumers in personalized ways along their path to purchase. And the insights you get from an AI can predict what will be even more effective, so you can scale your holidays from average to beyond what you could have ever imagined… but only if you welcome it. Learn more about how to incorporate AI into your holiday planning here.

 

Tip #3: Strengthen customer relationships through loyalty efforts that truly make your customers feel like VIPs.

Have you ever made a purchase at one place versus another due to the special care you receive or the perks you gained as a result? It’s not a secret that consumers – possibly even you yourself – prefer to shop at places they feel both important and rewarded. This approach can lead to profit this holiday season, but it can also lead to stronger customer connections to your brand. Building those relationships will keep on giving long past the holidays. The best way is for merchants to create memorable and personalized experiences that keep their customers wanting to return to their stores again and again and again.

Merchants can enhance customer connectivity by offering experiences such as VIP social holiday shopping events that both thank customers for being loyal and offer them special shopping incentives. Offering customized gifts for your most loyal customers, hand-writing thank you notes for shopping with your business, and giving incentives to be used in the New Year at your store are additional ways to make consumers feel your appreciation for their loyalty. Make your messaging match your efforts to resonate with customers, so they know how much you truly value their loyalty.

As we look ahead to the 2021 holiday season, identifying ways to connect with customers should be among your top priorities. Being proactive in these efforts will lead retailers to maximize profits and creating happier customers, which would be a holiday season worth looking forward to.

 

Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is the Founder of RetailMinded.com, a well-respected retail industry resource that has been recognized worldwide for its leading business insight since 2007. With a core concentration on the business of retail and how the various touchpoints of commerce influence modern merchants, Reyhle is a frequent guest and contributor to various media outlets that have included The Today Show, Forbes, Entreprenuer.com and countless B2B publications. Additionally, Reyhle has supported American Express’s Small Business Saturday as a Spokesperson and is the Author of the book “Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business” from McGraw-Hill. Recognized within the top 10 out 100 worldwide retail thought leaders since 2015 – including having held the #1 spot – and a retail “futurist” for IBM, Reyhle is also the Co-Founder of the Independent Retailer Conference. Learn more about Reyhle at RetailMinded.com.