Holiday retail ideas need to do more than push sale prices if they are going to cut through the barrage of holiday advertising consumers will face this year.

5 Holiday Retail Ideas Deliver on the Festive Spirit

Customer Experience Brand & Image

These five holiday retail ideas deliver on holiday spirit by focusing more on the shopper’s experience as they do the items on the shelf.

Holiday retail ideas need to do more than push sale prices if they’re going to cut through the barrage of holiday advertising consumers will face this year.

The National Retail Federation predicts that holiday sales will enjoy a year-over-year increase of 3.6 percent, topping $655.8 billion during the upcoming shopping season. Faced with increasing competition from online retailers as well as traditional brick-and-mortar stores, retailers need holiday retail ideas that focus as much on the shopper’s experience as they do the gift cards, goods and services they plan to sell during the upcoming holiday season.

1. Take an Inside-Out Approach

The shopper’s experience doesn’t start when they walk through the door — it starts much earlier. Analyze each step of the holiday shopper’s journey from the outside, in. Consumers will see hundreds of ads; what is it about yours that will stand out from the rest and inspire them to visit your store?

When they arrive, what will happen before they ever walk in your door? Since the holiday season is often characterized by inclement weather, make sure that your entryways are easy to navigate and that you have exterior and interior mats that are able to stand up to the snow, water and salt customers will inevitably track in.

2. You Had Me at Hello

The way you greet customers has the power to set the mood for their whole experience inside your store. If you don’t normally have greeters stationed near the entryway to greet customers and offer assistance, the holidays are the perfect time to start. If you already have greeters in place, you can still take the opportunity to change up your regular greeting scripts or swap out regular uniforms for holiday-themed attire or uniforms in festive colors.

3. Cater to Conveniences

Holiday shoppers often have to do more in less time, dashing in and out of stores on lunch hours or giving up valuable free time. Catering to convenience with services, such as personal shopping assistants, automatic repeat-ordering, order-ahead curbside pickup or taxi delivery options, could give your store a significant advantage during the holiday season.

4. Gift-Wrapping Services

Offering personalized gift-wrapping services may sound old fashioned, but it’s a valuable holiday perk for shoppers and can even give your store an advantage over online retailers. Shoppers generally have to wrap gifts themselves that they purchase online, and even when online retailers offer gift-wrap, shoppers usually don’t get to choose among multiple wrapping papers. The process of shipping may also negatively affect the overall presentation of gift. In a day and age when consumers are clamoring for uniqueness, custom gift-wrapping services could hold real appeal.

5. Make the Experience an Event

Many consumers, and especially millennial shoppers, crave experiences in their brand interactions. You can feed this hunger for experience by thinking of your customer’s buying journey as an event, rather than a shopping trip. During the holidays, you can facilitate this mind-set change through décor, music, holiday-inspired tastings, demonstrations and similar in-store touch points. Not only may it encourage hurried holiday shoppers to slow down and consider more items, but it’s also an advantage that online retailers cannot replicate.

Given that holiday shoppers are likely to be purchasing things for other people, any opportunity they have to interact with potential gift items first-hand could produce more sales. Taking this approach could be an especially effective way to promote unique or brand-new products consumers might otherwise be unwilling to take a chance on.

The holiday shopping season is special, and the holiday shopper’s experience in your store should be special, too. You can use these holiday retail ideas to generate holiday spirit among customers and staff.

Elizabeth Kraus
Elizabeth Kraus

Elizabeth Kraus is a freelance marketing consultant located in the greater Seattle area. Author of 365 Days of Marketing and 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa, she publishes marketing calendars annually for local small business, salons, restaurants, realtors, and others.