5 MIN READ

Christmas is in full swing which is a great time for retailers, and it’s not over yet – you’ve still got a really important segment of your customer base to think about before the big day hits! It’s time to start thinking about how you can get these customers through your door this Christmas. 

Planning on how to capture late holiday shoppers is great for retailers operating online and store-based as you can really take advantage of a true omnichannel model. Having the most touchpoints for maximum convenience will see the highest success for retailers this period, so make sure you’re ready for these shoppers! 

An important thing to remember when it comes to last-minute shoppers is that they’re going to be super rushed and in need of a helping hand to get their shopping done in time with as little hassle as possible.  Father Christmas will have nothing on you by the time you’ve read our quick guide. You’ll be helping people get presents under their trees in no time, and here’s how…

Offer Click and Collect 

People, for the most part, aren’t going to run the risk of ordering online for delivery at this point as cut off dates are on the horizon. This turns attention to stores and click and collect services. Offering click and collect to store or to pick up points (like lockers or collect plus) are a great way to ensure your customers will receive gifts in time for Christmas. Make sure you communicate at all points of the journey, people have so much to think about this time of year so text and email alerts to let them know the parcel is ready to collect will go a long way in adding to a great experience.

For those collecting in-store, highlight exactly where customers need to go for their collections so they’re not wandering around (last-minute shoppers won’t have time for this on the whole and it could add to their frustrations!) You might also want to consider adding in-store gift wrapping services too at point of collection, this could save time for people while upselling an added service for you.

Draw attention to gift cards

Gift cards are a popular, super easy and quick option and last-minute shoppers especially will be on the lookout for these pre-loaded cards for their loved ones. They’re great for when you may be short on stock following a recent surge in sales (as is common this time of year), but also great for consumers who might be too short on time to leisurely browse. Display where people will notice them. At the end of shelves and your checkouts are great spots!

As always, remember to optimise for mobile

Something last-minute shoppers have in common is a lack of time, which means a lot of their shopping will be done on mobile. Make sure your website is not only mobile design-friendly but optimised to support the buyer journey. If you’re not going to make the last posting dates for Christmas, make sure click and collect options are especially prominent for mobile shoppers, and this is communicated on here.

Think about hosting holiday events

People love experiences and festive touches are a great way to attract people into your store. Think about decorating your store and hosting collaborative popups with other retailers. You can consider offering festive foods or product goodie bags at times when you’re going to see an influx of shoppers leaving it late. They’ll be in a rush, so a small gift for their time coming into your store is a really nice touch. Last-minute shoppers are there out of necessity, so creating a nice festive environment can add an extra touch that will make the experience that bit more enjoyable!

Display bundle items together 

Circling back to the limited time problem for last-minute shoppers, you can make their lives so much easier by grouping presents together in displays by demographics; gifts for him, gifts for her, gifts for gardeners, cooks, football fanatics, chocolate lovers… and so on. This helps narrow down their selection process, discounting irrelevant items and honing in on the types of presents they want to find in less time. It also shows that you know your audience by offering personalised groups of gifts.

Have a flash sale in-store 

A flash sale is a great way to attract last-minute shoppers as well as the wider, bargain-hungry audience. You could tie in a flash sale promotion with a last-minute shopping theme and promote via email and social media campaigns to reach even more people. Have a special discount code for those coming in-store. If you want to run a website campaign here too, make sure you update your delivery time scales – if it’s not going to make it in time for Christmas, make sure your customers are fully aware of this.

Offer gift wrapping services

If someone is shopping on Christmas Eve, the likelihood of them having time to wrap presents before gifting them is pretty slim. Delight customers by offering gift-wrapping services. You can offer simple wrap like tissue paper at the point of sale/ However, if you have more time and staff available you could run a paid gift wrapping service with proper wrapping paper and adornments (ribbons, bows, tags etc). But don’t worry if you’re a bit time-pressed or short on hands, you could consider stocking gift bags and gift wrap at the till points so customers can buy them at the point of purchase with you than having to go elsewhere.

Boost your email campaigns 

You can tie your email campaigns in with many of the above points; promoting in-store events, last-minute flash sales and one-off discount codes for loyal customers. Make sure your email campaigns are optimised for mobile – more people are opening emails on mobile now than desktop, which means your emails and campaigns must align to mobile optimised landing pages too. Click and collect will also integrate with email, keep customers up to date on the progress of their orders via email and they’ll feel much more at ease during the whirlwind that is leaving Christmas shopping to the last minute!

Final thoughts 

It’s all about these little touches that will stick with your customers for Christmas and beyond. If you approach attracting and dealing with last-minute customers in the right way, you’ll see higher customer retention. They’re bound to remember how you helped them make the most of their Christmas, at a time they may have been floundering and thinking that they weren’t going to make it all in time. It’s a fantastic opportunity you simply can’t pass up! 

Christmas is all about giving, and your customers are the most important part of your business – give that little bit extra during a frantic time, and it’s bound to pay off for both you and your customer. Not to mention, you’ll feel even better when you do finally get your feet up and tuck into a mince pie and mulled wine!

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Charlotte McKee
16th December 2019

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