5 Ways to Improve Retail Holiday Shopping Experiences

Holiday shopping is in full swing, and there’s less than a month left of Q4. The busiest time of the year for retail is upon us and this period can really make or break a year. A good sales performance here can potentially rescue a poor beginning to the year.

Alternatively, not meeting sales expectations in Q4 can end the year on a low point. So how do you ensure your brick-and-mortar store is ready to provide the best holiday shopping experience?

This blog will dive into the top 5 ways to improve the retail holiday shopping experience while helping you maximise staff efficiency and, more importantly, boost sales in your store!

1)     Increase Impulse Purchasing Opportunities

9 out of 10 shoppers make impulse purchases

Holiday season shopping features customers who want to make a purchase. More often than not, the intention is to buy, not to browse. Reduced prices and promotional deals are the most obvious ways to boost holiday shopping sales.

But this year, it has been reported “The majority of consumers expect their fourth quarter overall (77%) and online (72%) spending to decrease or stay the same compared to the third quarter.

Essentially, most businesses can expect to see only small increases in consumer spending this year. Without preparation, this is a concern for many in the retail sector.

However, boosting impulse purchases could be the key to unlocking Q4 spending. If customers plan to spend less during Q4, the focus needs to be on the purchases customers didn’t expect to make!

Shoppers make impulse purchases for several reasons. Some have even done studies into the psychology behind it. However, each type has one feature in common: they are unplanned. Impulse purchase revolve around drawing attention to the products a consumer didn’t know they wanted.

“Pure” impulse purchases, for instance, are unexpected. A customer sees a product and suddenly wants it. If you have bought something right before the checkout in a shop, then you have also made a “pure” impulse purchase.

InQ-Merchandising Display Bowl

InQ-Merchandising Display Bowl

Products like our InQ-Merchandising Display Bowls boost impulse purchases. Once attached to the top of any Tensabarrier® post, the clear polycarbonate plastic allows consumers to see the contents and any bright packaging.

The Tensator® In-Queue Merchandising range features a variety of modular baskets and shelves proven to do the following:

  • Boost impulse purchases up to 400%.
  • Increase margins up to 30%.
  • Reduce customer walkaway clutter by up to 96%.

Read our blog piece, “How To Boost Impulse Buying In Your Business”, to further explore impulse purchasing in more detail, and how it can help your business.

2)     Enhance Customer Navigation with Signage Solutions

Holiday shopping means increased numbers of pedestrians could descend on your retail store. Ensuring your business has adequate wayfinding signage to help customers navigate will improve their experience while they shop.

During periods when there are chaotic crowds of customers, clear signage solutions highlighting where items are can be a huge help. A common complaint in retail is the struggle to find a specific item.

The holiday shopping season is busy and can be stressful for customers, so ensuring they can quickly find their product will aid:

  • Customer flow in your store.
  • The customer experience.
  • Staff efficiency as customers require less help.

Poor store layouts can exacerbate the frustration and stress of holiday shopping, especially if customers struggle to find a specific item. In larger stores (such as multi-level department stores), a seamless customer journey can increase the likelihood of purchases during the holiday shopping season.

To help, try adding signage solutions added directly into your existing queue management system. For example, totems are eye-catching and provide a long-term solution that is highly visible to consumers. Once customised with your artwork and brand messaging, you can use them as a useful navigational map for customers who are trying to locate specific areas of your store.

Alternatively, products like our Tensamedia® Eco Mediablade offer a short-term signage solution, perfect for highlighting the best holiday shopping deals in your store. Key features include:

  • Made from 100% recycled cardboard.
  • Sourced from FSC®-certified sources.
  • Suitable for kerbside cardboard recycling.

Once printed with artwork, they can be attached directly to your Tensabarrier® products to draw attention to temporary deals whilst also adhering to environmental commitments in place.

3)     Improve Accessibility During Holiday Shopping

Large crowds are sure to gather when customers are shopping for the holidays. So how, as a company, do you make adjustments for those with limited mobility?

If you want to temporarily cordon off restricted areas or establish a queue system in your store, be aware of the space taken. Often, a freestanding barrier can become an extra obstacle that prevents wheelchairs, trollies, pushchairs and buggies from manoeuvring easily.

Tensabarrier® Universal base

The Tensabarrier® Universal Base improves accessibility for all. Wheeled objects pass over the base without difficulty because of the low profile and leading edge. In fact, the base is the lowest on the market. This greatly reduces the risk of trips and falls for those with impaired vision.

While customers are holiday gift shopping, the number of people within your store will probably increase. Improving accessibility on your premises will help ensure the customer flow is undeterred, and so a positive shopping experience continues. Plus, having fewer obstructions will help customers find the best holiday shopping deals you offer.

4)     Reduce Hazard Risk In The Holiday Shopping Season

Under health and safety legislation, employers must look after their workers. However, a retailer must also provide a safe shopping space for visitors. So how do you ensure pedestrians don’t veer into unsafe environments and potential hazards during the holiday shopping season?

A Tensabarrier® Wall Unit with messaging directly onto the webbing is an easy place to start. This retractable wall mounted barrier is ideal for areas requiring regular maintenance checks and repairs. For example, a wall unit on an escalator to highlight when it is out of order. A combination of universally recognised iconography with clear messaging will help highlight hazards. Messaging on a physical barrier is simple and effective during busy periods.

Attaching signage products directly onto Tensabarrier® retractable barriers can avoid cluttering pedestrian walkways. While shopping for the holidays, crowded areas can lead to increases in trips, slips, and falls because of the reduction in floor space. Using products like post-top signage or the highly visible InQ-Totem can be the solution you need to guide holiday shoppers. As a result, you can improve your customer queue flow while helping to reduce the hazard risk in your store.

5)     Digitalising Queue Management System

Integrating digital solutions into your business is an excellent way to improve the holiday shopping experience. Our SLQ4 eQ™ Electronic Queuing System will enhance your queues, and our studies have shown that incorporating this technology into a business can:

  • Increase profitability by up to 96%.
  • Improve staff efficiency by up to 30%.
  • Boost revenue by up to 75%.

Focus on serving customers in the arrival order. The single queue system helps reduce customer frustration and anxiety. Here, consumers stand in one long serpentine line leading to multiple checkouts. A stark contrast to several lines leading to one cashier. A single-line queue is simple, fair, and effective – the ideal way to ensure a consumer’s holiday shopping experience ends positively.

Many customers also appreciate holistic journeys with a chosen brand. Use QR codes on your Tensabarrier® Webbing Cassette Caps and signage solutions that allow customers to scan a code to redeem reward points or to browse your website while waiting. It is an excellent opportunity to boost sales for your business. As a bonus, the perceived waiting time will feel shorter as customers remain occupied.

Finally, products like our Digital Totems and the InQ-TV can become excellent additions to your retail business. Configuring their media to highlight your holiday shopping deals is an easy way to boost promotional activity or highlight new products. As mentioned previously, the chances are your customer wants to spend money in your store on gifts. Digital prompts while customers wait in line can be the lightbulb moment they need.

According to the survey conducted by Millward Brown (commissioned by digital POS provider Impax Media), 84% of customers said that watching content on the displays helped the time spent waiting in the checkout line pass more quickly.

Combine audio and visual stimuli to keep customers’ attention and ensure they don’t get bored while waiting.

Remember, an in-store shopping experience lasts until after the customer leaves feedback. Every touchpoint in their holiday shopping journey will influence their impression of your business, so until they leave your store, every element must be positive.

Wrapping Up

Holiday online shopping significantly rose over the last few years. But don’t think of your physical store and the online buying journey as separate entities. They are working towards the same goal -sales.

As mentioned in our previous blog piece, “How To Improve An In-Store Customer Experience” the best buying journeys are those which recognise how digital and physical aspects work together. Some habits picked up over lockdown also directly show the benefit of omnichannel excellence.

Astound Commerce reported the following in expectation of this year’s peak period:

  • 33% of global shoppers started and continue to use BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) this holiday season.
  • 32% say they’ll continue to utilise curb side pickups.
  • 50% of global shoppers on average will use QR codes to access additional information.

Preparing a holistic buying journey by joining the digital and physical holiday shopping experiences can boost customer satisfaction.

The season is dark and full of frustration for customers. Ensure you are one of the best stores for holiday shopping this season and leave your customers happy.

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