The run up to Christmas provides some great promotional opportunities, says Helena Cotter
I’m sure, like me, you’ll enjoy your well-earned Christmas and the New Year holiday this year. Historically though, bridal retail can be pretty quiet, can’t it, in the depths of winter. Although sales, promotions and offers can increase your total revenue by 10-40%, they can often prove to be ineffective; 20-50% of events generate no increase in sales. Another 20-30% make too little profit to offset costs.
With that in mind, let’s look ahead at how you can keep winning over the festive season, with my top tips.
1) Drive traffic to your website by posting on review sites, such as Google and Yelp
You can give discounts – for specific sales etc, and special offers, and promotions for the Christmas period. And of course, for future marketing. When the customer has a fabulous experience, they will write a brilliant review of your business and service. Yelp, for example, make this easy as they allow you to post offers and promotions direct to your listing. They cover all areas of the UK.
Useful links here:
2) Create a loyalty, or gift card programme for the holidays – and then continue to roll it out in the New Year. A Christmas present for your customers
Bridal retail doesn’t create too much repeat business, so this is a great way to reward customers for their loyalty. You may be able to offer special deals on bridesmaids’ dresses and accessories should they buy during this period. Add ons are purchases where outside competition is huge. Why not encourage customers, who have already bought their wedding dresses from you, to come back and order their extras over Christmas time? You could give them an incentive if they recommend friends and family to your business; fantastic for maintaining that all-important rapport. It can take the form of a plastic card with your details on, or a paper card version. We’ve all got them in our purses from various places – so why not yours?
3) Be bold with your Christmas visual display
Create special holiday merchandising (to include your shop window, and social media) to promote your products and services. Make it bright, exciting and inviting. An antidote to those dark evenings!
- Ensure you move your displays and products around regularly – as you clean is ideal. It changes the energy of the boutique, and you’ll be surprised at how many of your brides will spot ‘new’ dresses!
- Look to improve any areas of communications which fall short.
- Review how messages are given and received by all members of staff and the business owner.
- Analyse how conversations and connections are managed and recorded with your customers.
- Always do what you say you are going to do.
- Remember always that broken promises do not make for customer satisfaction.
4) Partner up with other local retailers and have a live social event
Make Christmas and the New Year a retail celebration by teaming up with other local businesses, be it a local florist, jewellers, hairdressers, beauty salon, bar, restaurant etc. As the nights draw in, we tend to want to stay at home. When you have events at your boutique, you will encourage people out for what promises to be a special occasion. Raising awareness of local retailers and companies in your area, will help improve your exposure, and your customer footfall, something which can drop off at this time of the year. When competing against the huge chains, and we know who they are, strength in numbers pays off! You cannot beat an instore event at a local, independent, retail boutique.
5) Maintaining a presence
Don’t feel under pressure to have to keep selling. This time of year is a perfect opportunity for you to send out festive greetings to customers past and present. It will be brilliant for relationship-building communications. It is a no pressure, gentle piece of marketing which will keep you on their radar, and remind them you are thinking of them – and not just trying to sell them something!
6) Organise a competition on social media sites
Run a competition on a social network to help interact with your consumer base. It is a fantastic way to ensure your customers feel valued. It’s important to remember your target market and goals when considering a competition; so tailor accordingly. It could be free accessories, a voucher towards their wedding dress, or bridesmaids’ dresses. Let your imagination run wild. Once the prize has been drawn, invite the winning customer to the boutique and present them with their gift. Do invite any local media along. This in turn can help you with business promotion and raise your status and profile in the Industry. It will reinforce your fabulous reputation as a company who cares, and goes that extra yard. At this time of year, when a lot of people are feeling the pinch financially, the thought of winning a prize to help with wedding costs will be a real pull.
7) Making the most of your customer encounters during the holiday season
Did you know? Surveys show that only 6% of customers like shopping at this time of year.
- Let you staff participate in the organisation of the event/promotion/competition. They are at the coal face, so to speak, and are often a mine of amazing ideas.
- Once organised, all staff should be given training about what is on offer in terms of pricing and discounts.
- Be clear about how long the offer lasts, and which dresses and accessories are part of the promotion.
- Ensure you have enough staff to cover promotions.
- Staff need to be very enthusiastic and keen when trying to raise that all important customer receptivity.
- Lastly, enjoy this time of year. Sales and promotions are a super way of bringing your team together, ending the year on a high.
T: +44 (0)1582 451238 / +44 (0)7896944759