The "Black Friday" of collegiate retail typically occurs during the back-to-school season. But, who says your store can't make a killing during the holidays too? Below, we've listed five things your store should be thinking about now, in order to attract shoppers looking for gifts later. These suggestions are sourced from an article by product marketing manager, Crystal Wells', which was published on Independent Retailer. Be sure to read her full article for tons more tips on how to prepare.
A big part of being able to handle the sales rush is to prepare ahead of time. Here are some things you can do now to make sure your holiday season runs smoothly and efficiently.
Freshen up your website. Busy online shoppers expect to find what they want and make a purchase in a few steps. To ensure your site is buyer friendly, browse your shop, yourself, and buy something, or ask a friend to do this and give you honest feedback. Is your site easy to navigate? Does it look up to date and inviting? Are your categories clear and well-stocked? How many steps did it take to check out? Refresh the look and feel of your site before the holiday rush to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to buy from you.
- College Store Tip: Talk to your inSite Client Representative for suggestions on streamlining your site's order process and improving your overall look!
Dust off your email marketing. Good, old-fashioned email is still one of the most effective marketing tools around. What has changed is how people read them. Nearly half of marketing emails are now opened on a mobile device, so make sure your subject line and message are concise and compelling. Use your business name as the “from” address, so it will be easily recognized. Your message should clearly state the offer and make it easy for the reader to act on it. To avoid spamming people, only email previous buyers or folks who have signed up to get your emails, and provide a way for them to unsubscribe.
- College Store Tip: Use this time to start connecting with key audiences such as freshmen and alumni, who may be searching for emblematic items as gifts. Consider targeting them with promotions for your loyalty program that encourage them to sign up with an e-mail address. That way you can gain business now, and market to them later.
Increase your inventory count. When you sell out of a hot item during the holidays, you not only disappoint shoppers, you limit your sales potential. Make sure you have plentiful inventory of your best sellers, popular seasonal items and products you plan to heavily promote, and consider increasing your restock levels of these items to keep supplies steady.
- College Store Tip: Not sure what to stock up on? Ask your students! Try posting a question on Facebook such as "Which of these would you rather receive as a gift?" Then, during the holiday season, you could put the winning item(s) on sale, specifically for your fans and followers.
What strategies does your store use to bring in holiday shoppers? Share your ideas in the comments section!