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Know Your Shopper to Boost Post-Holiday Sales Shift your attentions to shoppers' moods and needs to move product and increase revenue.

By Wensdy Von Buskirk

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


After the holidays your store is poised for a second rush, but the post-holiday shoppers have different needs. They may be self-gifting, planning for the new year, or just ticking errands off their to-do lists. Knowing in advance who they are and what they need can help you increase sales. Here, we talk to experts about what post-holiday shoppers are looking for and how you can help them.

1. They're looking for bargains. In Canada, the day after Christmas is a national holiday on par with Black Friday. Retailers draw lines on Boxing Day with door buster deals. Take their cue, recommends retail consultant Bob Phibbs. Put items on deep discount and create buzz on social media. Move merchandise with buy-two-get-one-free deals. These shoppers are excited to find something random at a bargain basement cost. "They're okay with the leftovers, less picky, more driven by price," says West Coxsackie, N.Y.-based Phibbs, also known as "The Retail Doctor."

2. They need to return gifts that missed the mark. Make it easy, says Cynthia Jasper, a professor of consumer science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Create a separate, well-marked line for returns. Revisit policies for people who don't have a receipt. While you may be worried about fraud, the vast majority of customers are just hoping for a smooth return so they can get something they really want. "Consumers don't really like to return things in the first place but if it's a positive experience they'll tell everyone they know," Jasper says.

3. They have gift cards to cash in. While they may seem like zero sum transactions, gift cards are an opportunity to upsell and maybe even win over a new customer. Show them around and let them know why your store is unique. If stock is low, share when you'll get new shipments. Equip your website to accept gift cards and keep it updated. Chances are customers will spend more than the face value of their gift card which adds to your bottom line.

4. They're gearing up for the New Year. Shoppers' resolutions go far beyond losing weight, suggests Lisa Cavanaugh, a consumer psychologist with the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. They may want to spend more time with their kids, start a project or pursue a passion. Think creatively, Cavanaugh suggests, and display merchandise such as journals, craft kits, sports equipment and cookbooks front and center. Give customers encouragement, inspiration and permission to spend on themselves.

5. They seek rest and rejuvenation. Ironically, post-holiday shoppers are sick of shopping. Welcome them with cookies and chocolates. Hand them a cup of hot coffee or tea, which Cavanaugh says is proven to give people a warm impression and relax their body language. Set the mood with classical music, soothing lighting and pleasant smells. Avoid the hard sell and focus on the experience so your customer will linger, recharge and find pleasure in browsing your store.

Wensdy Von Buskirk is a freelance journalist and editor based outside Detroit.

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