Pumpkin spice is in the air and before you know it, holiday shoppers will be filling up your store. It’s not so much a question of if consumers will spend money this holiday season — it’s a matter of where they’ll spend it.

According to The National Retail Federation, more than 174 million Americans shopped over Thanksgiving weekend (from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday) in 2017, with shoppers spending $682 billion over the course of the holiday season.

The average spending per person was $335.47, with 75% specifically going toward gifts. According to their survey, 77 million consumers cited the most popular day for in-store shopping as Black Friday, followed by Small Business Saturday with 55 million consumers. The two most popular days for online shopping were Cyber Monday and Black Friday, with 81 million and 66 million shoppers, respectively.

As a tourist destination, your goal isn’t to bombard shoppers with even more holiday noise. Your goal is to make sure they’re aware you offer the products they want and need. To help, consider the below ideas.


Offer In-Store Events

Around 63% of consumers said they’d think more positively of a brand if it gave them content that was more valuable, interesting or relevant, so here’s your chance to offer an experience they can’t get anywhere else by offering classes or events with a local tie-in.

For example, in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Hot Sand is a glass-blowing studio that sells beautiful wares. But more than that, they show visitors how to do it themselves. This gives shoppers a unique experience, as well as a tangible product they can gift to friends and family when they get home. Popular retailer Lululemon offers free daily yoga classes, while Patagonia has in-store screenings of outdoor films and documentaries. While your audience may be different than theirs, consider how you can still gain inspiration from their leadership. The main takeaway, however, is this… to give shoppers something more than just a purchase, but rather new knowledge and an experience to boast about to friends.


Personalize Your Products

As a destination shop, you’re in the position of being part of your guest’s holiday vacations and their search for something unique. Instead of having them create an item themselves, you can make it personal for them by offering custom items like clothing, ornaments highlighting your destination or jewelry that will remind them again and again of your tourist destination.

Another profitable option is to offer products from local artisans and so that shoppers can experience the local culture. Bundle things like local snacks with a cookbook, or artisan clothing with monogrammed bags. The point is to not only cross-merchandise, but to also offer shoppers something unique that they can gift to those back home.


Provide Services Travelers Need

As a tourist-based shopping destination, many of your customers are on vacation, which means that convenience is key — especially around the hectic holiday season. Offer free gift wrap to take away one step they have to do in the future. Studies have found that offering free delivery encourages 9 out of 10 users to purchase, so if you’re able, offer that option to holiday shoppers.

Tourists also need to mail letters and packages, so provide postcards, packaging, and gift boxes to fulfill all their needs. Create an entire section of the store where visitors can find postcards that feature the local landscape to send back home. If possible, change up your inventory to feature seasonal items — a major convenience for tourists.


Take Advantage of Point-of-Purchase Displays

Up to 40% of shoppers will wait until the last 10 days before Christmas to buy gifts, and for those who are traveling, they’re looking for something quick and unique they can take home and gift to their friends and family. Make it easy for them by creating point-of-purchase (POP) displays filled with items that could be seen as “add-ons” or “upsells” as they make their way closer to the checkout.

The reason why these POP displays are so effective is that almost 66% of all decisions to buy something are made while people are shopping in a store, with 53% of those decisions considered an “impulse” buy. Make it easy for them by bundling like items and strategically placing them throughout your store, including pre-wrapped gifts that customer can simply grab and purchases with ease.


Go Above and Beyond

 The holidays are a hectic time for everyone, so make sure your store is a place that not only enhances their shopping experience, but also enhances their holiday. Provide a place for weary travelers to rest, and offer light refreshments for them to enjoy while they browse. Have your associates talk with each customer to find out where they’re from, who they’re shopping for, and how they can best be of help.

It’s not only good for the holiday spirit, but it’s also good for the bottom line. Around 52% of customers said a good customer service interaction influenced them to purchase more from the company, and 58% of those customers recommended the good companies to others.

Remember that customers can choose to spend their money anywhere, but they’re visiting your store as part of their vacation or travels… and as part of their holiday. Ensure they have a positive experience and leave with not only holiday purchases, but also a big dose of holiday spirit.


By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle

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