The festive season is nearly upon us and the high street is already showing signs of preparedness. For retailers across the country, this is set to be the busiest time of year as customers not only visit stores for the first time, searching for gifts and seasonal extras, but also increase their typical monthly spend.
A higher footfall, however, does not always necessarily translate into sales. Stores must work hard to both deliver an exceptional customer experience and to outshine their competition. If they fail to do this, sales may potentially be lost and, perhaps worse, the brand shortfall may lead to negative advertising and word-of-mouth. This is why stores must ensure that their business is prepared to stand out this Christmas.
Manage The Traffic
Shop design is under continued scrutiny, as is the science and psychology of customer experience. Throughout many decades of study, the discomfort of customer closeness, also known as the brushing effect, that is experienced when customers are in such close proximity that they come into physical contact, is understood to be a major deterrent, causing shoppers to not only stop browsing but even leave the store.
With the extra footfall that the festive season brings, it is crucial that stores reflect on their design and shop shelving arrangements to ensure that customers are given the extra space that they need to comfortably browse.
Consider Your Staff
Your store’s management during a busy time, as well as the main point of contact with customers, is a responsibility that falls directly upon employees. It is imperative that they receive a review of their training, as well as a seasonal briefing, before the shopfront becomes too busy.
As well as ensuring staff are familiar with seasonal logistics, it is also important to consider their mental health too. The extra customer demand can place a strain upon employees, which should be understood and remedied both for duty of care obligations and in the interest of maintaining an exceptional level of customer service.
Decorate With Taste
The busyness of Christmas shopping also places stress upon customers, a stress that can be exacerbated by loud Christmas songs and an abundance of flashing lights. While many stores are excited to bring Christmas cheer to their customers, they would also do well to remember that they are not an isolated business. Customers who have spent their day shopping will have experienced much of the same seasonal aesthetic volume across the high street.
To better stand out among the high street, spend time considering your festival shop design and cater to the potential fatigue of customers. Sometimes it is a calm respite that makes a greater impression than a bold display.
Host An Event
While many stores will be setting up their trees and lights, it can be a high street show-stopper to deliver a festive event to your customers. These experiential activities can be an amazing way to bring new customers into your store, allow shoppers to experience your products, and create a buzz around your brand.