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How to Drive In-Store Traffic During the Busy Holiday Season

in Retail

E-commerce could take its greatest cut of the holiday sales yet — more than half of consumers are planning to shop online this year. But even though it’s clear that more customers are comfortable with online gift ordering, they aren’t crossing in-store shopping off the list just yet. So what convinces them to buy from brick-and-mortar stores over shipping to their doors? 

Here are a few of things successful retailers do to drive foot traffic during the busiest shopping season of the year. 

Local ads and in-store exclusives

Google is one of the primary tools consumers will be using for gift ideas, pricing, and other research, second only to Amazon. So running Local campaigns through Google can be an effective way to promote products and store locations. Consumers may be more inclined to make their purchases from a local store if the product they’re looking for shows up as in stock nearby. After all, it eliminates the wait time and cost of shipping and also allows shoppers to see the gift in-person before purchasing. 

If the lack of shipping cost isn’t enough to entice customers, in-store coupons, discounts, and specials might seal the deal. Store-exclusive coupons and offers motivate 65% of shoppers to go to the store instead of buying online. 

And stores don’t have to reserve the big sales for Black Friday. In fact, many shoppers may find that the Black Friday savings aren’t worth the event’s in-store crowd, especially when they can wait till Cyber Monday and order from the comfort of their homes. So offering special deals throughout the season may be a more effective way to gain more in-store sales.  

Seasonal celebrations

The decorations, the music, the spirit of giving — there’s just something magical about the holiday atmosphere. And for two-thirds of shoppers, it’s that magic that will inspire them to visit stores. 

Whether it’s seeing all the decorative displays, trying out seasonal flavors, or simply enjoying time with family and friends, holiday shopping is often a day-long event filled with activities that go beyond shopping. 

So to be part of the celebration and draw in potential customers, retailers must do more than decorate their stores. The holidays are the best time for in-store events like gift-wrapping, craft-making, charitable donation collections, visits from Santa, children’s activities, and more. 

Of course, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. For example, if the music’s too loud or the decorations and events make it hard to navigate the store, shopping could become an unpleasant experience. 

Multichannel services

Online shopping isn’t going anywhere. But, by connecting online and offline shopping experiences, brick-and-mortar stores are sure to boost their in-store traffic this holiday season. Automated inventory, mobile payments, augmented reality, and QR codes help bring in some of the phone-friendly speed and technology online shoppers already know and love.  

However, the easiest way to combine online and in-store shopping is through buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) services. Experts are predicting that BOPIS is going to be a favorite among customers and retailers alike this year, particularly during the last week before Christmas. It allows customers to reserve and pay for items online and pick them up from their local store, sometimes within a matter of hours. It’s fast and free without the risks associated with shipping. And 85% of customers typically make additional purchases while picking up their orders.

If customers can pick up their online orders from the store, they should also be able to return their online orders to the store. This eliminates the hassle of repacking items to ship back to the retailer. Shoppers are already busy buying gifts for everyone on their lists, so if they need to make returns or exchanges, they’ll want a process that’s as quick and painless as possible.

Want to speed up and automate BOPIS pickups during busy times like this? Learn how Smiota’s smart package lockers can help.

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