How to Make the Most of Brick-And-Mortar During the Holidays

Predictions of a looming recession doesn’t seem likely to hinder holiday shopping this year. In fact, despite what some call “unprecedented uncertainty, analysts say holiday shopping will increase by 5% compared to last year. This is the time for brick-and-mortar retailers to capitalize on their physical locations and pull in extra profits as behemoths like Amazon continue to infringe on market share.

According to Avionos research, 58% of consumers are most likely to buy big-ticket items like furniture or electronics in-store proving that customers sometimes like to see the product if they are going to shell out big bucks for it. Using in-store promotions during events like Black Friday will drive customers to the store, and an added benefit may be that they buy more items once they are there.

Creating a branded online-to-offline, seamless experience isn’t always easy, and retailers will need to think creatively to engage with their customers. Investing in experiences that are memorable yet convenient is about redefining the relationship with the customer rather than being purely transactional.

Read More: Three Reasons to Start Planning Your Christmas Marketing Campaign Now

There are a few tips to consider to make the most of your brick-and-mortar:

Promote Fast Fulfillment

For customers who are still reluctant to face the crowds, make it as convenient as possible for them to pick up their items in-store with services such as buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS). Don’t make them trudge through the back of a crowded store to pick up their order — designate a clear spot in the front so that customers can get in and out quickly. Create quick shopping bins for a customer to add to their order by the pick-up.

Additionally, anticipate large numbers of shoppers and be proactive. Staff adequately to reduce line size and take steps to keep lines moving. For example, Target designates an employee to assign customers lines to make sure they move as quickly as possible.

Create Entertaining Holiday Shopping Experiences

While Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping events are family traditions for some, others scoff at the idea of waiting in long lines and fighting the crowds. Attract reluctant customers by making these shopping events fun and part of exciting customer experience — so they’re more like a party, and less like a brawl over the cheapest flat-screen TVs or a chore to get out of the way.

For example, consider hosting raffles and giveaways to customers that show up in-store on Black Friday, or offer easy freebies (like hot chocolate) to sweeten the deal for those that woke up early to visit your store. You could also offer special perks (like a free makeover for a beauty retailer), or a stylist on-hand to complete the outfit to drum up excitement about your brands.

Nudge Customers Toward Impulse Purchases

There’s another reason to get customers in-store rather than browsing their phones on events like Black Friday: impulse purchases. Brands can bank on shoppers’ likelihood for impulse purchases during these Sales since Avionos research also found that 58% of consumers say they’re most likely to make unplanned purchases in physical stores.

While customers might show up for the big-ticket sales, they’re more open to buying products they wouldn’t consider if they were searching for something more specific online.

An easy way, of course, is through discounts. For example, offer $25 off for customers that spend $200 in-store. Meijer takes this concept further by allowing customers to connect to in-store wifi and receive hyper-localized deals that online shoppers otherwise wouldn’t see. Customers who arrive unsure about the best deals are more informed and more likely to buy products they didn’t plan to purchase.

You can’t afford to miss out on consumer spending over the holidays, especially given economic uncertainties. And while customers gravitate toward online shopping this season, they still crave the in-store experience. Brick-and-mortar retailers have an advantage during the holidays, especially with big-ticket purchases. Don’t squander that opportunity — use technology to boost this advantage by merging the online and in-store experience together.

Read More: How Complex Machine Learning Will Enter Your Smartphone