Each year retail stores are slammed with last-minute holiday shoppers. With an increase in online sales this year, businesses are likely to see even more of a spike with in-store sales in the days leading up to the holidays. Those who ordered ahead will be fine, but procrastinators will find themselves in a crunch with shipping wait times.
As a business owner, how can you reap the benefits of the holiday rush, while successfully enacting social distancing practices with panicking customers? Keep reading for our tips on handling the last-minute shopping frenzy.
Encourage online shopping
If you have a website, ensure it’s powerful enough to drive additional traffic to it. This will be one of your busiest times of year, and with a robust website in place you can encourage shoppers to visit you digitally rather than in-store. Run specials for online sales in particular, such as free shipping or gift wrapping. Early sales will encourage customers to spread out their shopping rather than waiting last minute. And online specials might push them toward online purchases.
Endorse curbside pickup
Maybe shipping is a large cost for your business and you can’t afford to offer it for free. No worries, simply allow customers to try curbside or in-store pickup. Then use an appointment scheduling software like FlexBooker to manage those pickups. You decide how many pickups you can administer at a time and allow customers to choose when they’d like to come retrieve their purchases. Control crowds while giving your customers flexibility, and reducing their wait times.
Design Gift Packages
Everyone loves convenience, and what’s more convenient than getting half of your holiday shopping done in one fell swoop. Fashion gift packages and promote your business as a one-stop shop. Customers won’t have to spend as much time in your store if everything is bundled together for them already. And if you design them well, shoppers will likely purchase more than they would have otherwise.
Prioritize advanced reservations
You’ve encouraged online sales and curbside pickup, but it’s the third week of December and last minute holiday shoppers are down to the wire. Many people are nervous about crowds and don’t want to wait in line. Create shopping time slots and allow customers to make reservations on your website, through FlexBooker. You’ll all feel more comfortable, and you’ll any extra busy times to staff-up. Plus you can send customers automatic email and text reminders to reduce no-shows, and even allow them to join wait lists if you expect high desire.
Keep tabs on capacity
Appointments are great when they happen, but some people won’t think to make advanced reservations. You definitely don’t want to turn potential customers away, but need to make sure you’re keeping tabs on your store capacity. FlexBooker Pro helps with just that.
- Keep count of how many people are in your store, across entrances.
- Track walk-ups and send them messages when you’re ready for them.
- Give shoppers an automated realistic estimate of their wait time.