Combatting Post-Holiday Blues

TIPS FOR BETTER RETAILING: “Combatting the Post-Holiday Blues”

by Joel R. Evans and Barry Berman

Now is the time to be prepared for the after-holiday period. This time is often a psychologically down one for both customers (who start to get the bills for all the presents they have charged) and employees (who may be exhausted from the long, pressure-filled hours of the holiday shopping season). So, let us present some suggestions to boost the morale of customers and employees.
Boosting Customer Morale
  1. Many customers believe that they get poor treatment when they try to return unwanted presents. To remedy this, a retailer can do such things as these:
    1. Clearly post the company’s return policy at the front of the store and at other points throughout the store and online.
    2. Instruct the personnel who handle returns to do so in a courteous manner.
    3. Have personnel wear name tags (to personalize the shopping experience) and buttons with phrases such as “We’re here to chase away your post-holiday blues.”
    4. Have enough personnel so customers do not have to wait too long.
  2. Spruce up the store interior and keep a good amount of inventory on the selling floor. Too often, in January, retail store interiors look depressing and depleted. Yet, an upbeat atmosphere will encourage more customer shopping during an otherwise slow month. To make the on-floor shelves look full without spending more to acquire additional goods, backroom warehouse space can be emptied.
  3. Advertise during slow periods. There will be less competitive clutter in newspapers and online, and you must work harder to draw customers at these times.
  4. Run sales on items that were NOT heavily promoted over the holiday season.
  5. Encourage salespeople to cross-sell more (e.g., selling flash drives  along with PCs) since they probably will have a lot of time to do so.
  6. Devise a NEW special January event for your store or shopping district. Then, cooperatively promote that event. If you run the event every year, then some shoppers will really look for- ward to it and plan for it.
  7. Extend the “free credit” option that you may have given until Christmas through the end of January.
Boosting Employee Morale:
  1. Tell each employee how much you appreciate their efforts.
  2. Recognize good employee performance:
    1. Post their pictures in the store and online.
    2. Give them a certificate and a small bonus.
    3. Let them wear an “honor pin” to show customers that employees are respected by the firm. Do not pick one or two “winners,” choose several (perhaps one, two, or more per department).
  3. Award good employees with an extra day or two off.
  4. Let employees have an EXTRA discount on products in January (besides their regular employee discount).
  5. Empower your employees so that they can go beyond the standard company policy in handling customer complaints. Then, do not criticize any workers who take the initiative to help their customers.
For both customers and employees, the retailer’s goals should be the same: to generate and sustain loyalty toward and enthusiasm for the firm.

 

This entry was posted in Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 5: Managing a Retail Business, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Combatting Post-Holiday Blues

  1. Michael Troetti says:

    Great suggestions! If I’m a clothing retailer I would show spring and summer fashions in the front of the store. If I’m a technology retailer I would have employees take the time to interact with the customer. Most returns can be prevented if a sales person takes the time to explain the product, walk the customer through the setup ,how to properly use the product and ensure the product performance meets the customers expectations. Brick and mortar prices are higher than the internet so provide the service that illustrates the value of your store versus a website.

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