By Deb Gabor, founder, Sol Marketing
Black Friday isn’t the be-all, end-all retail event it used to be. Many consumers might prefer enjoying breakfast in bed this Friday morning over rushing out for doorbuster deals at their favorite stores. As a rough retail year comes to an end and retailers rush the start of holiday shopping with pre-Thanksgiving discounts and promotions, it’s easier than ever for consumers to get Black Friday-like deals, anywhere, anytime and anyplace without braving the crowds.
The National Retail Federation estimates 164 million Americans will do some kind of shopping between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, both online and in stores. NRF’s research also estimates that, for the first time ever, a significant majority of consumers (59 percent) plan to do their holiday shopping online. However, online isn’t the only way consumers plan to shop this year; more than half of consumers say they plan to shop at department and discount stores.
While ecommerce is on the rise, the holiday season is still a time when shoppers come out en masse with open hearts, minds, and pocketbooks. Retailers with physical locations should seize this unique opportunity to capture customers’ attention and create important bonds that last well beyond that final store visit to their store to return that ugly sweater from Aunt Ida.
Whether they’re department stores, specialty chains, boutiques or discount stores, physical stores are brands with the power to create deep emotional connections with their customers. A brand is like a magnet that attracts customers who share beliefs and values similar to itself. The holidays are a time for retail brands to proactively demonstrate their brand values to their customers set the tone for a lasting relationship that could last a lifetime. The best brands in the world help their customers elevate their own self-concepts and help them become the heroes in the stories they create about their lives. That’s why where consumers shop is as important as what they shop for during the holidays — and all year round.
Unlike websites, stores can inspire their customers into loyalty with a single shopping experience. Great store brands capitalize on the holiday shopping season to build brand bonds with the power to extend well beyond January. Retail brands that will win this holiday season — and the rest of the year — employ many of the following strategies.
About The Author
Deb Gabor is the author of Branding is Sex: Get Your Customers Laid and Sell the Hell Out of Anything. She is the founder of Sol Marketing which has led brand strategy engagements for organizations ranging from international household names like Dell, Microsoft, and NBC Universal, to digital winners like Allrecipes, Cheezburger, HomeAway and RetailMeNot, and dozens of early-stage tech and digital media titans. For more information, please visit www.solmarketing.com and connect with Deb on Twitter, @deb_sol.