How to take the stress out of Holiday Shopping for your customers

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the busiest time of the year to shop. And while some people love the excitement, for many the noise and the crowds are stressful. What can you do as a retailer to make your customers feel better as they come through your doors? Let’s look at ways to make your customers feel more comfortable during this busy, stressful shopping season.

Have an efficient sales process: the customer usually just wants to come in and buy what they need and leave, the smoother this happens the less stressful it will be. At every step of the sales process it’s important to be organized and prepared now more than ever.  Start with a well stocked, organized and clean store. Next have extra shop assistants to help locate and suggest items, you may need to bring in extra staff this time of year to keep up with traffic.

Try a calmer environment: Keep the focus of your store simple and on your products, even during the holidays. Decorate simply. Shoppers get overwhelmed and will want to leave if it’s too noisy, crowded, or even too hot.  Don’t overwhelm the senses. Skip the loud Christmas music that seems to be on endless repeat everywhere in every mall. Play some soft jazz or Christmas themed instrumentals in the background as an alternative.  Another trick is using lemon or citrus oils as they are known to have calming effects. And lastly observe your customers coming in; offer to store their jackets on a coat rack behind the counter. You could even offer water or tea, depending on how long your customers typically spend in your store. Your employees will also appreciate these thoughtful small changes.

Clear Store Policies: Along the lines of perfecting a smooth sales process, other store policies regarding your customers should be clear and reliable to give them confidence and ease in their purchases. Will you offer gift wrapping? If so does it cost extra? What are your exchange, and return policies? Will you offer to back order, and if yes is the shipping cost extra? Make sure all your employees know these policies inside out.

Lastly, take care of yourself: If you’re in a good mood it will rub off on the people around you. Take regular breaks in the fresh air and sunlight if you can. Eat regularly throughout the day and stay well hydrated, and try to get a good night’s sleep.

The holiday season for retail is full of long hours, crowds and high expectations. But by preparing in advance as much as you can and staying organized your store will run more smoothly even with higher traffic. Try to keep your space uncluttered and the focus on the merchandise – don’t let your decorations become distractions. Have enough staff oh hand to keep your standard of customer service high. Lastly by remembering to take care of yourself during the rush you will have the energy to help your customers the best you can. If you are able to implement more of these elements into your holiday season it will alleviate a lot of the stress that comes with Christmas shopping.

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