Seeing as the Christmas season is the largest shopping event of the year, the stakes are high for retailers. And while there may not be a one-size fits all approach to achieving holiday retail success, there are tried and tested strategies that will help steer you in the right direction.
We’ve put together a list of time-honored tips to guide you through the Christmas retail rush so you can boost your store sales and have a successful holiday season.
Check them out below!
How to Increase your Store Sales this Holiday Season
Not only does a unique and compelling holiday window display help you stand out from competitors, it also drives foot traffic. In fact, window displays act as a silent salesperson or a billboard for your retail business – they entice passersby and nearby shoppers to enter your store. The right window display will turn the heads of shoppers so your sales associates can close the sale.
Good lighting, bold shapes and colours, and creativity are all essential elements of a compelling window display. Incorporate your merchandise into the display by focusing on how it makes the perfect gift for a loved one, how your products are ideal decorations for a Christmas party, or how your clothing would be great to wear at the office holiday party etc.
Offer Free Gift Wrapping
Offering gift wrapping services is a great way to earn customer loyalty. Convenience is a big selling point during the holidays and shoppers always appreciate businesses that can help them save time and effort.
Free gift wrapping can even act as a competitive advantage for your retail store. Shoppers will be compelled to buy from you instead of your competitors. And in may cases, they will see your store as the perfect place to go for last minute gift shopping.
It’s a good to idea to pre-wrap certain quantities of popular merchandise. Also, consider displaying smaller gift baskets at checkout so shoppers can easily add to their orders.
You may worry that offering promotions throughout the holiday season will eat at your margins, but an increase in traffic and sales will most likely make up for it. Offering numerous promotions throughout the month of December is a good way to build hype and keep customers coming back.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
Offer big discounts (30%-50%) throughout the month: if you sell big brand or well known merchandise, this strategy will work especially well for you.
Offer BOGO deals: studies have shown that offering something for free is oftentimes more effective than a discount.
Have exclusive offers for VIP customers: This gives you more control over your margins and at the same time, allows you to build a loyal customer base.
Remember to make use of social media and email marketing to advertise your promotions! It’s always a good idea to put up sales signage (banners, decals, window signs) so that nearby shoppers can become aware of your discounts.
While a BOPUS strategy provides shoppers with a ton of convenience and flexibility, it comes with it’s fair share of benefits for retailers too, including:
Increased rates of impulse purchases
Lower return rates
More foot traffic
Decreased shipping costs
Satisfied and loyal shoppers
For retailers who do not have an e-commerce site, Google Local Inventory ads are a great way to drive shoppers to your store with BOPUS offers. Click here to find out how your retail business can easily implement Google LIAs.
Google Local Inventory Ads (LIA)
During the days that lead up to Christmas, Google searches with local intent increase. This is likely due to the fact that shoppers are reluctant to depend on online retailers/shipping and would rather go in-store to purchase gifts.
Loss leaders in retail are items or merchandise that are offered either at a significant discount, at minimum profit margin, or sometimes even below cost to entice shoppers to make a purchase.
This pricing strategy has been used by many big box retailers and discount stores to encourage impulse buys and has been met with great success.
Simply put, the intention behind this marketing tactic is to bring shoppers in-store and once they’re there, encourage purchases of higher margin items to make up for the profit lost on loss leaders.
Examples of Loss Leader Pricing
You have probably encountered loss leader pricing more often than you would think while shopping. Can you think of a sale that seemed too good to be true? Your local grocery store may have been selling eggs at a steep discount or your favorite clothing brand may have sent you an email advertising their sweaters at a ridiculously low price point.
These deals may have you thinking “there’s no way that the retailer is making any money on these items”. And in most cases, you’re right! Let’s take a look at some common examples of loss leader pricing in retail.
1) Grocery Store Staples
Grocery store staples such as milk, meat, and eggs work really well as loss leaders. Because they are regularly bought commodities, discounts and low prices are sure to attract shoppers. These items are strategically placed at the back of the grocery store to promote impulse purchases. Because shoppers have to walk to the very back of the store to purchase these staple goods, it is likely that they will be enticed to purchase other items as well.
Printers are also commonly used as loss leaders to encourage shoppers to purchase complementary items like ink and printer paper. While printers are often sold at or below cost, the price of ink is extremely high. Loss leader pricing is used to get shoppers to purchase the printer, and create the demand for ink which again, is relatively expensive.
3) Gaming Consoles
While the price of gaming consoles may seem high, they are actually sold at or below cost. For example, Microsoft Xbox gaming consoles are strategically sold below cost to encourage consumers to buy higher margin video games.
The Pros and Cons of Loss Leaders
1) Sell Slow Moving Inventory
If you have a slow moving or overstocked inventory item, choosing to price it as a loss leader can help you move it faster. This will result in more shelf space, less inventory, and an increase in cash flow.
2) Promote Complementary Items
Strategically choosing your loss leaders can help you increase sales of other items in your store. For example, let’s say you’re looking to increase the sale of a certain brand of women’s razor blades. In this case, you would price the associated razor as a loss leader. Once consumers buy the razor that complements those razor blades, they’ll have to come back to purchase the blades as well (which you can choose to sell at a higher margin).
1) May Hurt Your Brand Perception
Drastically discounting items can affect how consumers view your brand. Many shoppers associate lower prices with poor product quality. And overusing loss leader pricing can give consumers the wrong perception of your retail store. Remember people want high quality merchandise at good price points, not garbage.
2) You can Lose Money
There is risk associated with loss leader pricing – which is why you must closely monitor sales of complementary products and of the loss leaders themselves. There is a chance that customers will only purchase the loss leader itself in high quantities. Meaning lower or no sales of complementary, high margin items which results in less profit for your store overall.
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Your business category on your Google My Business listing is used to describe the type of business you operate (pet store, hardware store, grocery store etc.).
It’s important to be specific when choosing your business category -the category you choose determines how local shoppers find you!
For example, if your primary category is “pet supply store”, your business will show up on Google when shoppers search for “pets”,”pet food”, or “pet supplies” in the area.
Important Things to Note
You can only select 1 primary category for your GMB listing.This is the category that people see on your business listing. It is also the most important – Google prioritizes your primary category in it’s search algorithm.
You can select up to 9 additional categories (other than your primary category) to describe your business. Focus on selecting the most relevant and specific categories for your business.
You can’t create your own category. It is best to choose a more general category if you cannot find the one that you had in mind.
Google can detect category information about your retail business from across the internet (including your own website and other mentions from across the web).
Which can be broken down into the following points:
1) Be as specific as possible when choosing a primary category. The more specific you are when choosing your primary category, the less local stores/businesses you will be competing against. For example, if you sell gift baskets, choose “gift basket store” instead of “gift store”.
2) Your primary category and additional categories should describe your retail business as a whole. Don’t add additional categories in an attempt to list all of your products, amenities, and services. For example, if you run a furniture business that also includes a pastry shop, avoid adding the category “pastry shop”. Instead, the pastry shop owner should claim their own listing and choose “pastry shop” as their primary category. Google suggests that you select categories that complete this statement: “This business IS a” rather than “this business HAS a”.
3) Try minimizing the amount of additional categories that you add. Although you may be tempted to select as many categories as possible, it’s important not to. Doing so will negatively impact your store’s local ranking. Only choose categories that directly apply to your business!
Note: Skip adding categories that seem redundant. Again, you should focus on adding the categories that are most specific to your business. Google will do the rest of the work! For example, if you choose the category “children’s furniture store”, Google will implicitly add more general categories like “furniture store” and “children’s store”.
For more information, on how to choose a business category, click here.
It’s the single most important tool that store owners can leverage to gain local exposure. But it’s not enough to just have a listing, you must optimize it so you can reach as many local shoppers as possible.
In this post, we’ll discuss the first step in optimizing your business listing.
What is NAP Consistency?
To get started, Google My Business will request basic store information including your store name, address, and phone number (also known as NAP).
This will act as the starting point for your store’s local seo.
It is extremely important that the NAP you provide Google My Business is exactly the same as the information listed on your website. Otherwise, your ranking in search results will be negatively impacted.
In fact, your store’s NAP should be consistent across the entire web – including other local directory listings and your social media.
This is known as NAP consistency: it can be defined as having your store’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistently listed the same across the entire web.
NAP is critical for any retail store that wants to rank high in organic search and be found locally. This is because NAP is what causes your retail store to appear in local or geo-targeted searches. In other words, when a user searches for product or store information, Google uses NAP information to decide which stores to display in the search results.
NAP Helps Google Determine Legitimacy
It’s important to note that Google prioritizes businesses and sites that it believes to be legitimate. And to determine the legitimacy of a business, Google will reference how a business’s NAP appears across the web (including websites, local directory listings, social media profiles etc). If this information is not consistent, Google won’t know to display your store information to local shoppers.
NAP Consistency Checklist for Retailers
1. Decide how to format your name, address, and phone number.
Tip: Keep your business name, address, and phone number consistent. For example, if you use Allison and Bret’s Pet Store, 123 Main street, and 555-555-5555 on your website, don’t use AB’s Pet Store, 123 Main St., or (555)-555-5555 on Google My Business.
2. Post your NAP on your website. You’ll want to ensure that it is visible on specific parts of your website including: a prominent location on your homepage, your contact page, and the header/footer on the rest of your webpages. You may also want to include an embedded Google Map of your business address on your contact page (this acts as a strong local SEO signal).
3. Post your NAP on your Google My Business listing. Remember, it has to be exactly the same as the information listed on your website.
4. Improve local SEO by listing your business on local directories. Again, NAP on each listing should be consistent with your Google My Business profile and your website. The following are some online directories that will help your store appear in local search results:
Bing Place for Business
5. Add your NAP to your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc.).
6. Once your NAP is listed across the web, make sure to periodically check that it is accurate and consistent.
Looking to increase foot traffic and store sales? Easily implement Google Local Inventory ads with our new Google integration. Learn more here.
Google Local Inventory Ads (LIA) significantly increase retail store sales by turning nearby shoppers who are searching online into in-store customers.
River Island, Best Buy, and Williams-Sonoma Inc. are examples of retailers who have successfully leveraged Google LIA together with their POS systems to grow foot traffic and sales. Now, smaller retailers have the chance to do the same with a minimal budget.
Keep reading to find out how you too, can take advantage of this opportunity to increase your retail sales.
Local and Mobile Searches Lead to In-Store Purchases
There are two factors that make Google LIAs so effective:
For retailers, this means that there is a lot to be gained by being easily found online. The challenge then becomes figuring out how to give target shoppers the answers they are looking for at the exact moment that they are searching.
This is where Google Local Inventory Ads come in.
Google LIAs helps store owners succeed in these micro-moments – by capturing shopper intent and most importantly, the sale.
What are Google Local Inventory Ads (LIA)?
Local Inventory Ads showcase product and store information to nearby shoppers who are searching on Google. They are different from traditional Google ads as they are designed to drive shoppers to your physical store. While users also have the option of purchasing online (if you have an e-commerce store), LIAs are meant to attract nearby users and only show when a shopper is within a certain range of your store.
When shoppers click on an ad, they are taken to the local storefront page which can be either a Google-powered product listing or your own e-commerce site. Here, they can view other in-stock merchandise as well as important store information such as business hours, directions, current promotions, and more.
Below is an example.
When I search for “laundry detergent near me”, Local Inventory Ads appear next to the search results. Both Canadian Tire and the Home Depot are currently running LIA campaigns for laundry detergent (pointed out in red below).
I know that at Canadian Tire and the Home Depot, the items are definitely in stock because of the “in store” label.
How do Local Inventory Ads Work?
Let’s take a look at the example below.
Canadian Tire is looking to increase foot traffic to their physical stores. So they’ve purchased Local Inventory Ads hoping to target local shoppers like me. They’ve set up a Google Shopping campaign that showcases ads to shoppers within a 45 km radius.
As you can see above, I’ve made a search on my mobile phone for a ceramic stove top-cleaner. Like most people (87% of shoppers), I frequently turn to a search engine as a resource for product information.
By looking at the search results, I can see that Canadian Tire has what I need in stock and the closest store is only 2 km away.
I decide to head to the store because I am certain that they have the product that I need. A store associate is able to tell me more about the product in-store and even recommends I try out a surface scraper. After my conversation with a store employee, I’m happy to purchase both products.
LIAs let local shoppers know that you have the items they are looking for – at the exact moment that they are searching for it. The ads even create a sense of urgency and encourage shoppers to act by letting them know when certain items are low in stock.
2) Advanced Geo-targeting Capabilities: Target local shoppers who are actually nearby the store and are looking to purchase. Advanced geo-targeting capabilities allow retailers to reach target shoppers within a certain km radius.
3) Measure Campaign Results: See how your ads are impacting your bottom line. Monitor the effect LIAs are having on foot traffic and in-store sales – and adjust your campaign bids accordingly.
4) Gain a Competitive Edge as an Independent Retailer: In the past, Google LIAs were only available to national retailers. But now, independent retailers have the ability to run high-performing ads on Google with a minimal budget. For as little as $150-$300 per month, store owners have the ability to drive local foot traffic and increase store sales.
5) Automatic Ad Optimization: To minimize marketing costs, LIAs automatically turn off when products sell out. Not only does this benefit your bottom line, it also results in a better shopping experience for your customers.
To learn more about how your retail store can easily implement Google LIAs to increase foot traffic and in-store sales, click here.