Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us. Millions of Americans are buying gifts galore to show their love for significant others, with spending expected to reach a record $18.9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey. The survey reports that the average person celebrating Valentine’s Day will spend $142.31 on candy, flowers, apparel and more, up from $133.91 last year.
You may be offering specials to woo customers this week. Or maybe you are embarking on a special discount program as means to garner new business. Either way, you need to implement a plan of preparing for a possible influx of consumers. Doing so will not only put your business in a position to cash in on one of the most profitable times of the year but in the long run.
If you are preparing for a hectic Valentine’s Day weekend, you need to conduct a review of any mishaps that occurred during last year’s season of romance. What weren’t you prepared for, were there any shipping issues, was more staff needed, did you have revamp hours of operation?
“From their perspective consumers are wondering ‘will I find that deal of a lifetime’ and from the retailer’s perspective their anticipating: ‘have I projected the right amount of inventory to meet at my customer’s needs?’” say Barbara Pender, a certified social media strategist, and Toni Harris, marketing strategist. “Either way, when consumers arrive you have to prep your business to receive them and to keep them.”
Pender and Harris offer the following five steps to prepare your business to receive an influx of shoppers:
- Serve Them – You have done this all year long. You’ve served your customers, now prepare your database by implementing an email marketing platform that will allow you to track their holiday spending and provide you with the opportunity to reach out to them. Entice your existing customers as well as potential customers with discounted products and services. Send targeted incentives, such as coupons or exclusive deals.
- Thank Them – Have a special event just for your regular customers, after all, they’ve been loyal to you all year. Put in place a preferred shopping day, discount a few specialties, open up your store early just for them. Have a contest just for your frequent patrons and make them feel like a VIP around this time of year. Also, make sure that you leverage all promotions on your social media platforms.
- Treat Them – Determine if your current staff is enough or do you need to hire temporary help. Make sure you are prepared for a potential influx of shoppers by training staff members on how to manage the rush. This means emphasizing the importance of providing a pleasant and stress-free shopping experience. Exceptional customer service can make a big difference in consumers’ purchasing decisions.
- Remind Them – All of your local support should pay off around this time of year; so remind your customers how you’ve help the communities via sponsorship, fundraising, etc. If you have a brick and mortar shop, or even at your office, consider hosting a toy, food, or clothing drive to allow patrons to drop offs goods at your location.