This is the second in a three-part series exploring ideas on how to maintain a good relationship with your customers, potentially increasing your sales, as a company during the busy holiday season. Last time, we looked at how you can use social media to help your customer retention rates while still getting into the spirit of the season. This week we'll be exploring different kinds of effective holiday promotions, and why it matters if you participate in them at all. To get started on this topic from the beginning, follow the link to part one of the series here.
Like it or not, a big chunk of the excitement of the holiday season comes from consumerism. We could debate all day on whether that's a good or bad thing, but the fact is no matter what side of the fence you're on, you can use it to your advantage as a business.
I'm telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town. And that's not just an incredibly lame joke, either. Sales during this time of year are significantly higher across the board, but because that smell of freshly cut prices is in the air, chances are you'll have to join the crowd if you want to see the benefits for your business. As you can see from the numbers, everybody out there is ready and willing to shop, and it can be more than worth the trouble of getting a few holiday promotions off the ground.
Fear of Missing Out
There's a really interesting phenomenon that's been getting more and more prevalent as our society grows into this high octane, fast paced, need it now, internet culture. It's called Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO. FOMO happens because everyone's on the lookout for the next big thing. You'll see it a lot in pop culture, like when a new hit TV show comes out and everybody but Jim binges it over the weekend and talks about it on Monday. Even if Jim watches it the next night, he might feel that he's too late. He was excluded from this big social interaction because he waited too long. Jim's fear has been realized: he missed out. Nobody wants to be Jim.
Essentially that means ticking clocks and exclusivity are really in right now. Add in the fact that people are in a shopping mindset this time of year anyway, and you've got a recipe for success. This is going to be different depending on the type of business you're in, but for the most part a "Winter Line" of your product that's only going to be around for a while, or offering a particularly deep discount on products for a very short amount of time might be good ideas to start with. If you can generate a feeling that a customer might miss something special if they don't act now, they'll be more likely to...act now. There's just one thing to keep in mind...
Make It Easy
There's one caveat to FOMO, and it has to do with a universal weakness that all humans share: an unbalanced work-to-reward ratio. We generally don’t like to do things that don’t seem worth the effort. Imagine the following two scenarios:
- Special Holiday Promotion: 15% Off All Apparel!
- Steps to Redeem: Add apparel to shopping cart, enter promo code.
- Special Holiday Promotion: Buy Two Get One Free on Select Items Over $25!
- Steps to Redeem: Find two items over $25, add to cart, realize items are only $24.99, go back to shopping, find new items for correct price, realize one item is not part of the promotion, get frustrated, cancel Christmas.
Which customer do you think is going to be more excited about your promotions in the future? As a holiday shopper yourself, which scenario would you rather go through? The best thing that you can do with your customers this holiday season is to ensure a quick and easy checkout. Because if you don't, they'll find someone else who will. Sales might be king most of the year, but when everything is on sale everywhere, customer experience takes the crown. It may be a short reign, but it's important to keep in mind during the holidays.
That may not be everything you need to know, but hopefully it's enough to get those gears turning. It's an important time of year for any business, but using some of these ideas could give you a leg up when the competition is the most fierce. And if you're feeling the need to develop better relationships with your customers during the holidays and beyond, get ready for Part 3, as this series concludes with a look at making a one-on-one impact that could improve someone's holiday and keep your company in their mind for years to come.