When the Shopping is Over
While still full of stuffing and way too much turkey, I decided to go for the guilty pleasure hat trick and poured another glass of wine, grabbed the TV remote and fell headlong onto the couch. But it wasn't football I tuned into. Sport is fine, but my real passion is music, especially live music. At any given time, I have at least six or seven live concerts DVR'd from Palladia.tv. In my tryptophan coma, The Doors at the Hollywood Bowl in 1968 sounded absolutely perfect. And it was.
As I enjoyed watching a fantastic show, I thought about my neighbors, who were hurriedly wrestling their 18-month-old into his car seat and speeding away, no doubt toward some retail nirvana. I thought about the crowds and the deals and the excitement of the season. And I thought about endings and that letdown feeling that sets in after a larger-than-life concert, and even after the holidays are over.
It made me wonder: What can businesses do after the holidays are over to solidify customer relationships.
Get the Important Stuff Right
The Doors show was subdued yet exciting, owing partially to the band's aesthetic and partially to the constraints of late 60s technology. There were no lasers, pyrotechnics, elaborate light shows or multimedia. But they didn't need all that; they got the music right.
During the holidays, stores of all varieties offer extended hours, extra employees and incentives in order to encourage buying behavior. Consumers expect it. Why not offer the same thing throughout January when consumers will be needing assistance with exchanges and returns? Most stores will scale back, so the opportunity to impress is there for the taking.
The Words Matter
"C'mon baby light my pliers" doesn't have quite the same ring, does it? Retailers spend weeks preparing messaging for the holiday shopping rush and then gasp with relief when it's all over. But the words matter just as much — if not more — when the shopping's done. Spend the time to update scripts, live chat canned messages and knowledge bases in preparation for questions about returns, gift cards and refunds. Do a global search for the phrase "that's our policy," then delete them all.