The last days leading up to the holidays may seem like a lull. But don’t be fooled: A rush of last-minute shoppers will soon be hitting the stores in search of holiday gifts. Make sure they visit your business with these fashionably late, but absolutely fabulous marketing tips.
1. Create a gift guide
When time is of the essence, make it easy for harried shoppers to find the perfect gift with a handy gift guide. Create an email, blog post, web page or print marketing piece with gift ideas for everyone on their list, including pets.
Need a great gift that’s under $25? In the following example, Pottery Barn makes it easy for shoppers to find gifts at just the right price:
2. Social media contests and giveaways
Sponsoring a holiday-themed contest isn’t just a great way to grab customers’ attention. It helps you stay on customers’ radar, so they think of you first when they need to buy gifts in a hurry. In just minutes, you can launch a holiday campaign that rewards the winner with a freebie or major discount coupon for last-minute holiday shopping. Multiday giveaways in which you give out prizes every day for the 12 days of Christmas, the eight days of Hanukkah, 13 days of Halloween, and the like, also get noticed on Facebook because people keep coming back to enter.
Other fun contest ideas include asking customers to comment on what they’re thankful for and encouraging them to submit a photo that depicts their favorite holiday tradition. For example, Canadian Pacific Railway challenges passengers on its CP Holiday Train to snap a photo that captures the spirit of the holiday season. One lucky person wins a trip for four aboard the CP Holiday Train as well as a $1,000 donation to their local food bank.
3. Offer free shipping
Looking for a powerful way to drive sales? Offer free shipping. In Deloitte’s annual holiday survey, 88 percent of respondents said free shipping was more important than getting their packages quickly. You can also participate in Free Shipping Day, a promotional holiday held in mid-December. To observe it, simply offer free shipping on all orders (with no minimum purchase) with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. Let customers know you’ll be offering this perk by spreading the word on social media: #FreeShippingDay
4. Include gift recommendations
When tweaking your website for the last-minute rush, don’t forget to include product recommendations for your shoppers. For example, if a customer is searching for “pizza stone,” add a pizza peel, a pizza mitt and other related products. It’ll make the shopping experience more convenient and help you sell more products with ease.
5. Give back and get business
Give people a great reason to shop at your establishment by letting them know that you’ll donate a percentage of each sale to charity. This is a great way to drum up sales from last-minute shoppers and help them contribute to their favorite causes.
6. Have a flash sale
Generate excitement and immediate attention with an impromptu sale. Whether you promote your sale with a banner and balloons or send a quick, clever email, use your creativity to make your flash sale stand out. And, keep it credible by making sure your sale only lasts one day.
Urban Accents uses clever photography and a frightfully nice Flash Sale to whet customers’ appetites for spices and seasonings.
In this enticing email from Bath & Body Works, the leaves open up to reveal a 30 percent discount.
7. Give the gift of knowledge
Include a free booklet or eBook with tips on how to make the most of their purchase. If you sell knives, for example, you can include a booklet on how to carve fruit and vegetables. You can create a booklet request form on your website; after the holidays, you can print and send booklets to those who have requested them — a well-targeted audience.
8. Promote gift cards
For time-crunched shoppers, gift cards are a popular and speedy choice. In fact, more than half of shoppers plan to buy gift cards this holiday season. So, promote gift cards in your store and online.
- Post signs next to the cash register.
- Send emails to let people know about your gift card selection.
- Use social media to remind folks why gift cards make the perfect gift.
To make gift cards an even more appealing option for shoppers, offer festive gift card boxes and folders, or a bonus. For example, Marcus Theater came up with a creative way to make shoppers hungry for gift cards — free snack cash.
9. Show your spirit
Get customers in a holiday frame of mind by decking the halls of your business with boughs of holly and the like. Revamp your window displays and in-store displays to market your seasonal wares. Offer mulled cider, hot chocolate or a tasty holiday treat shoppers can nibble on while they search for the perfect gift. And don’t forget to spruce up your business’ social media page and website with festive photos of you and your staff, special holiday promotions and great gift ideas.
10. Make shopping as easy as (pumpkin) pie
Customers are in a hurry to finish their shopping, so make it quick and easy for them. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, you can arrange everything they need in one convenient spot: grab ‘n’ go gifts, greeting cards, gift tags and bags, and a gift-wrapping service. Be sure to organize your online storefront, too.
Walgreens shows shoppers just how easy their last-minute shopping can be in the example below:
It’s never too late to dazzle last-minute shoppers with attention-getting marketing and irresistible deals. So, leave the sugar plum dreams to your competition and kick up your promotions for a merry, bright and profitable holiday season.