Are you a retailer or small business owner in Los Angeles?
If you are, did you know that LA residents are willing to spend MORE on holiday shopping this year?
You read that right. Although shoppers will be wiser and more frugal in their purchases, chances are high this holiday season that they’ll be shelling out more. This is thanks to numerous retail promotions, discounts, and rewards that businesses are offering to their customers. In fact, plenty of establishments (like Kmart) started their holiday marketing campaigns as early as September.
November is already a late start for retailers – but if they’re still willing to get a slice of the LA pie in time for Christmas, there are still some things they could do to attract consumers by the dozen. Here are our top ten on- and offline methods for maximizing your holiday profits.
Offline Marketing Strategies
#1 Longer Store Hours
Extending store hours is one of the easiest ways to quickly get the most out of holiday shopping sprees. By simply operating for an hour or two more than your usual working schedule, you open up opportunities for higher sales. In order for this to work, employees need to be informed ahead of time. Have people work in shifts so as not to burn them out. Offer incentives such as bonus pay, freebies, or extra vacation time once the holidays are over.
#2 Additional Staffing
Unfortunately, marketing gimmicks are hardly as effective among today’s tech savvy consumers. You could offer plenty of coupons, but if your service isn’t up to par, you could be losing revenue. This is where additional personnel come in handy. You can hire seasonal staff to handle specific tasks such as: customer complaints, inventory, checkout duty, or online marketing.
Learn from last year’s faults. Did you run out of baggers? Did you receive plenty of complaints on shipping? Assigning extra people can add to the overall buying experience of the customer. The better the experience, the better the chances of getting a patron.
#3 Discounts/Coupons/Gift Cards
As mentioned earlier, you can never go wrong with giving away discounts, coupons, or rewards. But as with everything else, make sure to create a plan to make the most of this strategy. Instead of offering coupons for ALL your wares for instance, give super low discounts on specific items only (such as electronic gadgets or apparel).
You can also provide customers with gift cards to give to loved ones or friends. Last year, coffee chain Starbucks took advantage of their popular gift cards, with about 46 million Americans receiving one. You can also apply coupons or discounts with a minimum purchase of a product or service.
#4 Free Shipping/Delivery/Gift-Wrapping
Who could say no to something that’s FREE? In fact, free services such as shipping, is so commonplace these days that 87% of consumers expect it from retailers. But you don’t want to just play the game – with a discerning market like LA, you want to be a step above the competition.
So aside from free shipping, you could also offer other incentives such as free delivery for those who want their gift purchases delivered in advance to their recipients, OR free gift-wrapping services for people buying in your store. Another great treat is to give free samples for every minimum purchase. This should entice customers into discovering a new product and eventually lead to a real sale if they like the merchandise.
#5 Partnerships with Popular Names in Your Industry
Are you worried that your start-up or niche business won’t get enough exposure this holiday season? Don’t fret, because partnerships are here to help! Pairing with popular names in your industry (such as experts, bloggers, or journalists) should spread brand awareness just in time for some serious Christmas shopping.
In fact, partnerships are a great way to provide great customer service (see tip #2) while reinventing the buyer experience. American retailer Target is doing exactly this by pairing with the Curbside app. This lets people buy on their mobile phones, then pickup purchases well, on roadside curbs. This prevents the hassle of going inside a store, looking for parking space, or facing stressed-out shop clerks.
**The Target-Curbside partnership services are available in 100 locations, including: New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, California.
Online Marketing Strategies
#6 Mobile-To-Store Pickup
If your business has an app, add value to your services allowing customers to purchase online and then pickup their items in-store. Walmart is a good example through their mobile check-in feature. Customers can place orders in advance, then alert employees ahead of time by checking-in once they are inside the store. This helps speed up the buying procedure.
#7 Make Sure Your Deals Lineup with Apps
Portable devices, like smartphones and tablets, are not just for games or watching videos – 78% of people admit that they’ll be using their gadgets for holiday shopping. That includes: store hunting, price checks, browsing, and actual buying. That’s why it’s crucial that your special offers (tip #3) are seen on major discount apps such as Slickdeals.
Even though November is already a little bit late in the game, do your research on big apps that specialize on deals to give your business an edge.
#8 Remember To Send Newsletters
Do you recall that big database of emails from your marketer? Now’s the time to pull those up and start sending holiday newsletters! It should be customized to fit your brand and contain your most irresistible offers. If you were able to get names along with those emails, use customer first names to make your pitch more effective.
Try premium email services like MailChimp to create beautiful newsletters for your customers.
#9 Video Marketing
Videos are not only everywhere nowadays, they are also enjoyed by both young and old alike. In fact, YouTube statistics say that they have over a billion active users A DAY. Imagine having that many views for your Los Angeles business. Creating a video doesn’t have to take a toll on your nerves.
If you’re camera-shy or you have no idea where to start, you can consult video marketing experts for their input. However, if you’re the adventurous type, you can grab your camera to shoot 6-second Vines or a 1-minute YouTube ad. You could hit it off as long as you tailor your video to the online platform you’d be using. Plus, creating your own channel on YouTube is free – so that saves you money long after Christmas has come and gone.
#10 Stay Active on Social Media
This is a no-brainer. In fact, 60% of consumers this holiday season will rely on recommendations on social media websites before buying anything. So if you have been ignoring your Twitter account, now would be a good time to begin Tweeting again.
Amazon does a great job on their Facebook profile by using the social media giant to promote their Black Friday Deals. They also offer Facebook Gift cards, which could easily be redeemed by connecting your account with Amazon.com. It’s fast, easy, and the user can disconnect accounts after they have redeemed their gift card.
What do YOU think? Will you be trying these holiday marketing tricks to boost your Los Angeles business sales?