We're headed into the final sprint to the holiday-shopping finish line. So it's a good time to brainstorm about marketing strategies that could still make a difference and bring in more customers for brick-and-mortar retailers. Ecommerce players are competing harder than ever -- so what will you do to make customers want to get in their car or bike down the road and visit your store?
Here are six suggestions:
1. Think freebies. At Gemset in Saratoga Springs, NY, customers who buy $400 in jewelry their first visit get a coupon for $400 off the next purchase of $1,200 or more. Great way to build customer loyalty and get them coming back after the holidays, without giving up any margin now.
2. Provide entertainment. Could you have a magic show going on by the cash registers, show a movie, give out balloons, or have a night with live music? Give customers something they can't possibly get online -- an experience.
3. Hold flash events through social media. You don't need a big ramp time to hold an event these days -- if you've got a strong Twitter or Facebook following, post a message offering them something special in exchange for a store visit, and make more sales.
4. Reward your best customers. Extend your hours one night and invite your mailing list in for an exclusive sale. Longtime customers are your best advertising, so keep them talking about you this final week.
5. Get out of your store. If your main street or neighborhood is holding a holiday sale event in the town square or a winter farmer's market, be there with a booth and some special offers. It's a chance to meet new customers who may never have shopped you before.
6. Co-promote. Team up with other local merchants to offer a progressive sale with discounts for visiting more than one store or a free gift at another store for buying at yours. Get customers to discover your shopping district. The more stores they like in your neighborhood, the more reasons they'll have to drive to your area next time.
How will you bring in customers this last week of the shopping season? Leave a comment and tell us your strategy.