Statistics for the 2011 shopping holiday season look a little scary for merchants this year. According to a Price Grabber survey, 45 percent of consumers say they are going to spend less on holiday shopping compared to what they spent in 2010. Luckily 49 percent say they are going to spend the same amount. Only 7 percent say they are going to spend more. Considering many businesses depend on the holiday season to boost their earnings for the year, it would seem logical to bring out the heavy artillery to entice as many of those shoppers as possible for the year's final hurrah.
What are some of the incentives businesses offer to maximize a customer's buying experience? Shoppers will be looking for the best prices, discounts, free shipping, coupons, and blowout sales, however organizations that match the atmosphere with the merchandise will find an increase in buyers and an increase in sales. And what that means is the need of customer service representatives demonstrating those people skills that assure shoppers they are making good decisions. Buyers however are well-educated and sophisticated, so the merchandise has to reflect the quality, the grand selection, and the price, but the sales people need to be available to help customers select the best choices for their own particular needs and to assure customers they have made the best possible purchase.
The average holiday shopper will spend 15 hours this season shopping for presents. Walk into a store like Harry and David, and the scents and sounds already feel like grandmother's house on Christmas Eve. There's Christmas music filling the store, and shoppers are already humming and singing that Santa Claus is coming to town. The irresistible aroma of hot apple-cider adds to the scents and sounds which all affect the moods of shoppers. The longer a consumer stays in a store, obviously the more money a person is going to spend.
But whether it is an online business or a store in the mall, making the shopping experience easier for the busy consumer is of prime importance. As you walk into the store of Harry and David, gift baskets with one of a kind holiday designs already wrapped makes decision-making quick and easy. A personal assistant who offers to customize a gift basket for a customer, wrap it in festive paper and send it off to its destination and still stay within a shopper's budget is the ultimate in customer service and a great way to minimize the hassle of shopping and shipping. Make it worth the money, make it convenient, and make the staff get out on the floor and help - then join in the joys of the Season.
photo credit: Zürich Film Office