Amidst all the holly-jolly of the season, people tend to experience their fair share of stress — especially when it comes to shopping. But as a retailer, you have the opportunity to distract shoppers from the annoyances of long lines and crowds and deliver a positive holiday shopping experience.

In this article, we’re going to cover some pro tips on how to help keep your customers happy during the most wonderful (and stressful) time of the year.

Guide and incentivize seasonal employees

Preparing for the holiday season often entails hiring more people, but a larger staff won’t do you much good if they’re not trained (or treated) properly.

A few pointers for bringing on seasonal employees:

  • Encourage positive perception of seasonal employees. Avoid viewing seasonal employees as “temps.” Instead, make them feel like an integral part of the team.
  • Provide training beyond videos on how to use the register. Partner seasonal employees up with some of your star players and have them shadow for a few shifts to help pick up on good habits.
  • Reward and incentivize employees for a job well done. Most (78%) of employees would work harder if they were better recognized. Providing incentives like discounts, free products, or longer lunch breaks for a job well done is a sure-fire way to get more out of all of your employees.

Schedule heavy on high-traffic days

Scheduling properly is critical to customer and employee satisfaction. For example, if there’s only a skeleton crew closing up the Saturday before Christmas, last-minute shoppers won’t be able to find anyone for help and workers will be at their wit’s end. To avoid retail catastrophe, make sure all locations have ample coverage during your peak days.

Chain Store Age predicts 2018’s busiest holiday shopping days for brick-and-mortar stores will be:

  • November 23 – Black Friday
  • November 24 – Saturday after Thanksgiving
  • December 01 – First Saturday in December
  • December 08 – Second Saturday in December
  • December 15 – Third Saturday in December
  • December 21 – Friday before Christmas
  • December 22 – Super Saturday
  • December 23 – Sunday before Christmas
  • December 26 – Day after Christmas
  • December 29 – Saturday after Christmas

Reward your customers

Shoppers want to feel appreciated. So when customers make a purchase, reward them with a coupon for their next visit, a surprise deal on their current purchase, or even something like a candy cane.

Empower employees to make decisions

When it comes to holiday shopping, time is of the essence. Customers don’t have the time (or patience) to wait for managerial approval on things like damage discounts or a return without a receipt. Employees on the sales floor, call center, and online support should all feel empowered to make swift decisions that will keep customers happy while maintaining brand integrity. Trust your employees to do their job, and you’ll have more time to focus on your responsibilities.

Streamline your returns process

You’ll certainly make plenty of sales during the holiday season, but you’ll get your fair share of returns, too. Make sure your returns process is as quick and easy as possible for both shoppers and associates. To make lines move quicker, set up a designated station just for returns. Alternatively, you could invest in smart lockers — they help expedite returns for customers and allow employees to process transactions when lines aren’t a mile long.

Suggested reading: Improve Your Customer Experience With Easy In-Store Returns

Provide as many fulfillment and delivery options as possible

Modern holiday shopping is light-years removed from the charming window shopping scenes you see in old movies. These days, people want to obtain their holiday haul via free two-day shipping, same-day delivery, curbside delivery, and the ability to click and collect — all in addition to the traditional fulfillment method of visiting a cash register. So if you have the time and resources available to implement or expand delivery and fulfillment methods, don’t hesitate.

Bonus tips

Already mastered all of these pro tips for boosting customer satisfaction during the holidays? Try these bonus strategies.

  • Provide gift guides. Gift-giving can be hard, especially when you’re shopping for the grandpa that has everything or a co-worker whose name you picked out of a hat. Inspire your customers by sending holiday gift guides right to their inbox.


  • Watch inventory levels closely. Chances are you’re going to run out of some popular items during the holidays. Ensure everyone in store and fulfillment centers keeps a close eye on inventory levels so that if something sells out, you can communicate that to all staff and customers.


  • Send out customer service surveys. The best way to prep for next year’s holiday craziness is to ask customers for feedback. Sending out email surveys is a great way to collect data.


Adopt these strategies, and you’ll sail smoothly through the holiday season and probably even gain some repeat customers.

Contact us today to see how Smiota can help boost your retail game this holiday.