The National Retail Federation reports that 2018 holiday sales will increase between 4.3 and 4.8 percent from last year, with customers looking to spend more due in part to increased employee wages and job creation alike. Combined with a reported $100 Billion plus to be spent on tourism in 2018, it’s fair to say that tourist based retailers should brace themselves for an exciting – and potentially lucrative – holiday season. To help optimize this opportunity, below are some ways that busy merchants can help make their store more festive this holiday season… ultimately helping to get their customers in the mood to spend along the way.


#1. Cater to All 5 Senses  

From the scent of freshly baked cookies to the lingering of holiday music while customers shop, there is no shortage of opportunities to entice customers through their senses this holiday season. Aim to attract attention from your store guests by provoking all their senses during their shopping journey. From visual displays that are rich with festive flair to encouraging customers to engage with inventory and get hands on in their store interaction, make sure your business entices customers with sound, smell, touch, taste and of course, strong visual experiences. Another tip? Offer samples of chocolates or other edible inventory you sell to help encourage sales while also giving your customers a friendly in-store experience. Consider sharing edible inventory from your local tourist attraction area, as well as explore the tradeshow IGES and discover a variety of brands that can help bring your store to life through all the senses your customers can appreciate. Learn more about IGES here.


#2. Train Your Employees to Be Festive & Prepared

 Let’s face it – customers nowadays are faced with a lot of competition that can distract their customer buying journey at any given time. What helps to keep them focused, however, is a strong in-store experience that includes customer care delivered by trained employees. Use the immediate weeks ahead to prepare your store staff with product knowledge insight as well as strengthened customer service expectations. Additionally, don’t overlook the value that adding holiday specific customer care can add to your store success. Training your employees to support customers in their search for the perfect gift across all categories – whether for friends, family, teachers, co-workers or more – can often make the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity. Finally, consider how having employees add festive flair to their wardrobe can strengthen the festive spirit of your store, as well. Whether it’s a cohesive store uniform or welcoming employees to add whatever festive sparkle to their wardrobe they’d like, this is a fun way to help increase the festivity of the season in your store this holiday.


#3: Celebrate Small Business Saturday

One of the best parts about being a tourist based retailer is that your store is truly one-of-a-kind. From the unique name-drop inventory you sell to the customized apparel, accessories and décor items that can only be found at your store, there’s truly something special about being a retailer in the tourist space. Celebrate this one-of-a-kind experience by celebrating Small Business Saturday, a nationally recognized day that takes place the Saturday following Thanksgiving and brings increased foot traffic and sales to small businesses nationwide. Founded by American Express over ten years ago, Small Business Saturday offers retailers free resources on for merchants to download for free as well as register for free to gain physical, promotion items directly to their stores. Plus, much of this can be customized to your unique business. Leverage this opportunity to bring increased awareness to your store this holiday season while also aiming to strengthen sales.

To truly benefit from the holiday season you need to be proactive in your planning efforts. Take advantage of the calm before the storm to get your store festive in décor and your staff trained and in the mood for holiday sales while also thinking about inventory along the way. Ornaments highlighting your unique tourist attraction are the perfect addition to your displays, as are pre-wrapped gifts that customer can simply grab, purchase and go for a quick and enjoyable shopping experience. Finally, remember to kick the entire holiday season off by celebrating Small Business Saturday on November 24th this year – celebrating both your one-of-a-kind business while also kicking off the holiday season in style. Collectively, not only will these efforts get your store holiday ready but they will help drive sales to your store, as well. And that’s definitely a gift worth getting this holiday season!


By: Nicole Reyhle

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