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ID-100172168Black Friday is coming up and the Big Box retailers have already stepped up their game. Black Friday has become more like Black November. Companies like Target and Best Buy have already put their Black Friday circulars online. Walmart is starting their Black Friday sale a week early. Retailers like Macy’s and Kohl’s are opening Thanksgiving evening.

Although online shopping remains popular, Deliotte University’s 29th Annual Holiday Survey reveals that consumers plan on doing 52% of their spending at stores and shop at an average of 4.6 venues.

So how can a business make itself stand out?

  1. Excel at customer service. Ever been to one of those big box stores during the holidays and wandered around to find someone—anyone–to help you? Is there a sea of cash registers but only a few are open? The biggest complaint people have about BB stores is their lackluster customer service. Make sure you have enough staff. Hire extra people just for the holidays. If you have a small business, enlist friends and family to help out.
  2. Keep up a social media and email presence. Reward your fans with “Followers and subscribers only” special deals. Tweet or email a “secret” word of the day that saves customers 10% off on their total purchase. Encourage customers to check in on Facebook at your business. Monitor your social media and respond quickly to questions, comments and complaints.
  3. Emphasize how you help the local economy. Feature items made locally. Showcase local/regional artisans and tell people what state/city they are from. No locally made items? Emphasize how your business helps grow and sustain the local economy.
  4. Keep customers entertained. Customers expect lines and waits, but that doesn’t mean they like them. Hire a local guitarist to play Christmas carols. Offer free coffee or hot cider to people in line. Hire a strolling magician to keep children distracted.
  5. Have a generous return policy and let people know. Do you only take returns within 30 days? Increase it to 60 for anything purchased between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Offer gift receipts if you have the ability. Let everyone who purchases something know the return policy UP FRONT by printing it on their receipt and having in-store signage. Your customer service people will thank you later.

Source: http://bit.ly/1xUSMOV and freedigitalphotos.net