Did you know that the draw of atmosphere is the main reason why people are returning to physical shopping? This especially applies to Millennials, who are moving away from their screens and looking for experiences to enjoy with friends. Now the largest generation in America, they are also big on having dogs and look for quality in the things they buy. Regardless of the age of your customers, holiday shoppers appreciate that special touch only brick and mortar stores can offer.
Pros of Brick and Mortar Stores During Holiday Season
A Last-Minute Shopper’s Dream Come True
Shoppers are looking for the perfect gift during the holidays, and they are on a deadline. In this situation, brick and mortar stores offer the best availability, browsability and convenience compared to online stores. A customer can walk out with an item that same hour rather than waiting a week or two while the item ships, maybe even longer if there is a mix-up.
See and Touch Before You Purchase
The quality, features, size, and color of a product can be determined immediately, whereas it’s always a bit of a gamble when choosing items off a website.
The Human Experience
If the store takes the time to create a positive experience, many shoppers tend to enjoy wandering around looking for gift inspiration. How can staring at a screen while slogging through pages of what is basically clipart compare to a friendly face, a warm space and unique wares? No matter how pretty a website is, the nature of shopping online is the same—scrolling and clicking while sitting in one spot. A physical store has much more opportunity to create a unique experience.
Tips for Creating a Welcoming Holiday Shopping Experience
For many of your customers, there is nothing quite like winter holiday décor—sparkly snowflakes, sweeping ribbons, eye-popping red on velvety greens, glittering golds and shiny silvers—the holidays were simply made to look pretty, warm and inviting. Stores indulging in the spirit win almost instantly for being a pleasant place to be. And, as a pet boutique, you have the opportunity to get really creative with your decorations. Who knew dog bones, collar and leashes could make perfect ornaments?
Creating a welcoming space that encourages exploration is more than your displays, music and decorations however. The demeanor of your sales team plays a large role too. Training them to treat shoppers with warmth, helpfulness and respect during this busy time can go a long way to keeping a person in your store. If you are located in a cold climate, offer hot chocolate or place a coffee station near the door. Warm climates—well, we are jealous.
Play to the Heartstrings
Creating an emotional connection between customers and products is a tried and true sales technique. Pet boutiques have a leg up on this tactic—getting a gift for someone is already emotional, but buying for a cherished pet can be on a whole other level. Good ways to connect products to customer’s emotions is to link them to the time they spend with their pet—providing physical and emotional health, playtime, cuddletime and exercise. “Best Toys for the Overly Smart Pooch” or “Don’t Forget to Spoil Rover Too” product collections can inspire shoppers to purchase items they might not have originally considered.
Include the Pooch Too
Creative campaigns that involve pets shopping with your customers can attract people to your store, such as a “Selfie With Santa” display or special dressing rooms where dogs can try on new outfits. Give your customers another way to share an experience with their beloved pooch.
Love Your Local Community
Brick and mortar stores have the added advantage of existing in a community where people live their lives, raise their families and play with their friends. Making yourself an authentic part of that community attracts new customers and keeps current ones coming back. You already show your love for your local college team by carrying In Dog We Trust Collegiate products! During the holidays, develop strategic partnerships with other organizations or stores that your customers frequent and make sure you both talk about that partnership in the store, the local press and your social media. That local touch provides another opportunity to show your customers your store is a value to their community and therefore a natural place to frequent.
An online supplier cannot provide the unique shopping experience of a local brick and mortar store. Embrace your strategic advantage by creating a shopping experience that will keep your customers coming back, during the holidays and throughout the year. Do you have any tips for creating a welcoming atmosphere at your store? Visit our Facebook Group and let us know!