The 2020 holiday season will be different from anything you’ve experienced in the past. More people will be hosting family and friends (in smaller gatherings) and traveling less. For many, this will mean holiday traditions may change slightly. And no matter what your company sells, there will be some impact. How you approach your engagement with customers will determine whether that impact is positive or negative.
Here are some ideas to consider this holiday season:
- Focus on Convenience.
That’s the name of the game right now. It would be best to offer customers a way to shop how they want and when they want. Maybe that’s offering curbside pick-up or free shipping or providing easy-to-use online shopping with a variety of secure payment options.
- Emphasize a Safe Shopping Environment.
You may need to limit or expand your hours, limit the number of customers you can serve, or increase your store’s cleaning frequency. Whatever you decide to do, communicate your safety measures with your customers. It may also be the opportunity you need to discuss the many convenient ways customers can shop without leaving their homes.
- Promote Loyalty Programs.
If you offer a loyalty program to your customers, promote enrollment early and regularly. Get your sales staff involved with incentives as well. Getting early sign-ups will generate repeat orders and improve your bottom line. And be proactive in reminding customers about their participation in your loyalty program and how it can benefit them.
- Stay on Top of Your Inventory.
You should anticipate higher website traffic than in the past and adjust your inventory accordingly. You don’t want to sell out of merchandise too quickly as that will negatively impact your sales (and your image). If you do run out of stock, be sure to let your customers know you have something “back in stock” to recapture engagement.
- Provide Relevant and Personalized Communication.
You’ll get more traction sending an email or postcard that is meaningful to a smaller group of customers than just one massive mailing about a new offer or special. Provide regular updates and information about your product or service that fits into the recipient’s lifestyle. For example, if you own a restaurant, offer “for your eyes only” recipes or a special price for holiday on-the-go meals (either by pick-up or delivery). And if you regularly send customer emails, pay attention to your subject line – the more you can personalize it, the better. You want to make sure the person receiving the email knows it’s something meaningful just for them.
While the holidays will look different this year, it doesn’t mean that your business needs to suffer. Find ways to reach your customers where they are and focus on the future. You’ll find these meaningful connections made during difficult times should increase customer engagement as you move forward.