By Ellen Fruchtman, President
Let’s forget Halloween and Thanksgiving. Because as you know, the biggest jewelry time of year is fast approaching. If you’re looking to make the holidays a little more profitable (and who isn’t?), here are some simple ideas you should be employing. Some seem rather elementary, but they work.
1. Make sure you have a plan. We have seen so many retailers who wait until the very last minute to plan their marketing strategies. At this stage of the game, you should have your plans in place, which typically will include a holiday party or open house; your media strategy and actual media buy in place; email marketing; digital initiatives, etc. You know…a PLAN. The plan should be broken up into two segments: New customer (attrition) and Existing customer (retention). Do not shoot from the hip. This time of the year is far too important.
2. Put a strategy in place to capture customer data. Because this is the time of year with the highest propensity to buy, your traffic should be increasing exponentially. Don’t use the excuse that you are too busy to capture data. This is the perfect time to make sure your accounts are up to date with customer emails, birthdays, and anniversaries. Start training your sales associates and putting an emphasis on this initiative. You can also put up an Enter-to-Win during the months of November and December right at the point of sale. This way your sales associates can lead them in that direction. Make sure to print up a pad of entry forms to includes ALL of the information you want to receive from them.
3. Post-holiday. What? We haven’t even started the holiday season! Know what’s important? The little things. When you capture the data from a NEW customer, what are you going to do? How about sending them a hand-signed letter welcoming them to your family. Yes, you might send out thank you notes, but a note from the owner is something special. You could include a gift certificate for a future purchase to ensure a repeat visit. In any case, get the letter prepared now while you’re not that busy. And, make sure to send it 2-3 weeks into January.
4. Get your website ready. Really ready. Make sure everything is functioning and make sure you have enough product on your site so that customers can get a general idea of what you carry. If your site offers online purchasing, test it out. Make sure all of your digital initiatives are driving traffic to the site. Perhaps you add an offer to your homepage that can be printed and redeemed in-store. BOPIS is big (buy online pick up in-store), so make sure you offer that service. Try and add that to your product shopping area.
5. Provide an incentive to your existing customer. Some retailers will say “why should I give away margin?” A silly way to think. It’s all about thanking your good, existing customers. You can base the offers on a minimum purchase (or not) and you should make sure you have clear disclaimers. The point being, do something nice for them. Don’t make it hard to use. And, don’t give them so many exclusions it’s hardly worth the effort. Think about how you’re also presenting your brand. Don’t send a cheap-looking mailer. Send a nice card in an envelope with an actual “gift card”. Pay a little more for first-class presort STAMPS and make sure your mail house uses a nice typeface for the mailing address. Want them to open? Put some copy on the envelope: Your Gift Card is Enclosed!
6. Send something special. Have some GREAT customers? Maybe consider doing something a little more special. Send flowers; a Thanksgiving arrangement (or holiday). Consider an actual “gift” not related to them coming from the store.
7. Email Marketing. It’s the least expensive way to touch your customer. Now, remember, you’re not going to get a 100% open rate. The success of any email campaign has to do with: a. How good the list really is; b. The subject line; c. The content. Since these are existing customers, make sure you include a link to a hidden landing page with the gift card offer we talked about above. If you have an online shopping site, remind them in the email “Remember, we are open 24/7 for your convenience”. We recommend deploying emails 2x per month with re-blasts for events the day before. If you want to heavy it up in December, maybe add one more email message. But don’t over-blast your customers or you might see heavy unsubscribe rates.
8. Facebook and Instagram. Make sure to have great content (which should be different on each platform) with the appropriate links to the product(s) on your site. Remember, Instagram is a lifestyle platform. So, your photos should reflect that. DO NOT deploy Facebook or Instagram contests in the hope to drive more “fans” and “followers”. They will simply be individuals who are solely interested in winning something and who will never shop in your store. If you are working with a company that is still deploying these tactics, “Run, Forrest, Run”. It’s antiquated and will never provide you a solid picture of how your social platforms are performing. Make sure that you have a strategy in place for these two. They are ADVERTISING platforms first and foremost. Do NOT over-post. Your ads should be changed weekly; consider using some video (it performs dramatically better, we have found), but your organic posts should not be done daily. It’s far too annoying and people will begin to hide your posts!
9. Be Surprising. Everyone is out and about for the holiday season. People are celebrating with family and friends in restaurants Can you imagine walking up to a table, introducing yourself and handing them a gift card (with no minimum)? It would make their day/evening! They would talk about you! And, that’s what you want to happen on social channels. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll get a new customer. I’ve seen a retailer do this and it was awesome and that was well before the likes of Facebook. You want things to go viral? Do something special!
These are but a few of the many, many ideas we have (and have deployed). So, take advantage of what we know will work. Get through the holiday season and yes, be successful! And, if you’re looking for a new marketing partner for 2020, we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.