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Behavioral Themes in Retail: Five Tips for Hooking Holiday Shoppers

The holiday season is in full swing, so we thought we’d share some tips on how best to engage shoppers. One strategic way to get a leg up on the competition is through more effective in-store promotions that really hit the mark with consumers.

The key to crafting promotions that will resonate with your customers this season is understanding the mindset of holiday shoppers—which items they’re most interested in and how they’ll go about gathering everything they need to make the perfect Christmas day meal or make sure the house is tidy when relatives arrive.

Below are five tips (based on past holiday shopping data and trends) that are sure to help you boost holiday sales:

1. Focus on larger, multi-buy promotions

It’s no secret that many holiday buyers are shopping for large groups of family and/or friends – more so than buyers at any other time of year. Because of this, people need larger quantities of food and multi-buy promotions are likely to perform better than usual.

Consider promotions with larger buy quantities and/or bundles, for example:

  • “Buy 5 bags of chips for $10”
  • “Buy 5 large sodas and get 3 bags of chips for $2”

2. Bundle typical holiday combinations

When shoppers go to buy a ham on Christmas Eve, you can bet they’re also looking for accompaniments – often during the same shopping trip. Even if they aren’t, effective bundle promotions can give them that extra nudge to ensure that they do.

For example, consider promotions that offer a free pie when customers purchase ham and green beans.

If it’s a great deal for consumers, sometimes it’s enough so to push them to purchase every item on their holiday meal shopping list at the same store. Cue a win/win for everyone.

3. Instead of using ham or turkey as a loss-leader, offer discounts on other holiday items

Discounted turkey or ham is often used as bait to get consumers into stores during the holidays, with the hopes that they’ll do all of their holiday meal shopping at the same time. While this is most definitely an effective tactic and has been for years, offering discounts on other holiday pairings can sometimes be even more effective.

For example, promotions like “Buy a pie and a 2 pint ice cream, get $3 off any turkey” or “Buy eggnog and rum, get $4 off any ham” may render better profits in the end.

4. Use occasion-based messaging that’s specific to certain holidays

Occasion-based messaging (or rather, the right kind of occasion-based messaging) can be very effective during the holidays. In particular, messaging that goes beyond price and resonates emotionally can really give your holiday promotions an extra boost.

For example, replace generic messages like “Buy more and save!” with holiday-specific messaging such as “Make sure there’s plenty to go around this Christmas!” or “Treat your family this holiday season!”.

5. Offer extra discounts on quick-fix cleaning products

Research has shown that people are so preoccupied with preparations, cooking and socializing during the holiday season, that they don’t want to spend a lot of time on household chores such as cleaning. Instead, they’re looking for ways to quickly make their homes look clean and tidy, in preparation for arriving guests.

This means the most successful holiday offers are those that focus on quick, simple fixes and clean-up tools, with low buy requirements. Consider promotions that offer discounts on disposable mops, holiday-scented candles and air fresheners.

By putting yourself in the shoes of holiday shoppers, your in-store promotions will be much more likely to resonate with your customers as they go about their shopping during this busy time of year.

Just remember: a great offer can bring cheer to even the biggest Scrooge!