Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and with total spending estimated to reach $19.9 billion in 2014, you can bet that consumers will be doing quite a bit of shopping. The holiday is also the third biggest shopping event of the year (next to Christmas and back-to-school) so expect your store to be extra busy this week.
In this post, we will be looking at what retailers can do to engage customers and provide a better Mother’s Day shopping experience. From catering to last-minute shoppers to ensuring that your store runs smoothly in spite of the crowds, here are 10 tips to make sure you have a thriving store on, before, and even after May 11th.
1. Make it easy for last-minute shoppers to get in and out of your store
Expect a lot of last-minute shoppers to walk into your store this week. Most of them may be stressed out, in a rush, or aren’t sure what to buy, so do your best to make the shopping experience as quick and painless as possible.
To make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for, you may want to consider having a special Mother’s Day section in your shop. Or the very least, put the mom-centric products in the front so people can easily see them.
Mother’s Day baskets or bundles would also work well for customers who are confused or unsure of what to buy. Why not handpick special items that you think moms would like, then create a special gift set for them?
And if it’s feasible, provide gift-wrapping services as well. Your customers would be thrilled that they’re able to take care of two Mother’s Day tasks in one stop, and you’ll be the hero who made their shopping experience a whole lot easier.
2. Offer convenient online services
If you’re selling online, put the above-mentioned tips into action on your site. Create a special Mother’s Day page and offer gift-wrapping services as well.
Also remember that online shoppers (especially those doing it at the last minute) are very concerned about shipping. They aren’t sure if their items will arrive at their doorstep on time, and this could prevent them from completing the purchase.
Ease their apprehension by creating a quick shipping guide that tells people when they need to order and what shipping method to choose if they want their items to arrive on time.
Check out what Apple is doing. The retailer has order deadline tables on its website that shoppers can reference to when buying their gifts.
3. Appeal to shoppers’ emotional side
Pull on people’s heartstrings. “Emotion is what drives consumer action and Mother’s Day,” says marketing consultant and business columnist Colleen Sheehy Orme. “The best avenue for increased sales is to remember the importance of emotion in your brand (the store itself) and your products.”
Colleen advises retailers to “take stock of what items best promote the emotion of the holiday and / or products which have stories that make them meaningful to a buyer on Mother’s Day.”
Also be sure to incorporate emotion into your marketing collateral or the messages you send out. Consider for instance, the #WorldsToughestJob campaign that Cardstore.com ran last month that reminded people of just how great moms are.
4. Partner up with local flower shops, spas, jewelry stores or restaurants
Don Uselmann of Saks Fifth Avenue advises merchants to partner up with other businesses
“At Saks our customers were coveted by others and often the store would approach a local restaurant who would provide gift cards at no cost.”
The shop would then run a gift card promo (i.e. “Spend $100 on mom and get a $25 gift card to ABC restaurant) to encourage people to buy. The store benefits because of the increased spending, and the restaurant wins as well because it gains new customers.
This arrangement can work both ways. If you want to increase traffic in your location, consider teaming up with local merchants that see a lot of business on Mother’s Day (flower shops, restaurants, spas etc.) and send them free gift cards to offer to their customers, and hopefully drive traffic to your location.
5. Offer experiences, not just merchandise
People aren’t just looking to buy stuff on Mother’s Day; experiences—spa treatments, brunch dates, etc.— play a huge part in the holiday as well. If it makes sense for your business, see if you can hold special events or experiences for moms and other customers.
The Woodhouse Day Spa for example, offers a free Mother’s Day tea event at some of its locations where attendees can savor fine teas and treats while enjoying mini spa services.
6. Hire additional associates
Make sure your store is prepared for the increased traffic that Mother’s Day will bring. Bestselling author and sales expert Grant Cardone recommends that merchants bring in extra staff to help the store run smoothly. According to Grant, it’s best to assign your less experienced employees to tidy up the store, so you can free up your best associates to sell, engage with shoppers, and handle register transactions.
7. Cater to on-the-go users
If you’re running any deals for Mother’s Day, make sure mobile users can get wind of them by getting listed on mobile coupon apps. With 53% of smartphone users turning to their devices to find deals, going mobile can bring in more visibility for your promos. (Hint: Find more ways to get your business in front of mobile customers in this blog post.)
Shoppers will also be doing research, browsing products and reading emails on their mobile devices, so see to it that your site and email creatives are optimized for the small screen.
8. Make sure your social accounts are in on the Mother’s Day fun
Mother’s Day is also a busy one for social sites, so make sure your pages get with the program.
If you’re on Facebook and Twitter, update your cover images to something more mom-centric. Also prepare relevant content (tweets, status updates, images) and send them out throughout the week.
If you’re on Pinterest, why not create a special Mother’s Day board that you can fill with inspiring messages, gift ideas, or heartwarming images, then encourage your followers to share or even add their own pins.
Finally, keep an eye out for popular Mother’s Day hashtags so you can jump in on relevant conversations. Also be sure to include trending Mother’s Day hashtags in your updates so you can draw more attention to your posts.
9. Encourage user-generated content
People love sharing their mom stories, and mothers would love to hear those tales, so give them an avenue to do so by running a user-generated content campaign. Encourage your customers to share stories, pictures, or videos about their mom and feature all (or the best ones) on your site.
Check out what dressbarn is doing. The clothing retailer is running a campaign called Tell Me A Story, where it encourages customers to share their favorite mom-related moment for a chance to win a trip to Chicago and a dressbarn gift card.
Similarly, FTD.com is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day through a campaign that lets users submit stories about their moms through either a video or a photo and a story. FTD is “looking for 100 Stories of Mom and will honor those stories with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.”
Of course, you don’t need to create a huge campaign to encourage people to share their mom stories. You can keep it simple by asking your Twitter follower to tweet their favorite mom memory, for instance. Or, by writing a Mother’s Day blog post and asking people to leave their comments.
10. Get busy AFTER Mother’s Day
Round up your staff after Mother’s Day and gather their thoughts. What went right? Were there things that could’ve been handled differently? Take note so you know what to expect and what to do when the next shopping event rolls along. Remember, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Father’s Day are in the horizon, so take the lessons you learned on Mother’s Day and apply them to the upcoming holidays.
Speaking of Father’s Day, if you gathered intel on your customers, see if you can use that data to re-connect with them. For instance, if you took note of the people who purchased a Mother’s Day gift (sons and daughters specifically) then segment those customers and find ways to re-engaged them for Father’s Day. (ex: “We’re happy we were able to help you find the best Mother’s Day present. Now let us help you do the same for dad.”)
Hopefully these tips were able to give you some ideas on what to do on or around Mother’s Day. If you have any other nuggets to share—such as Mother’s Day campaigns you ran, or additional lessons that you learned—we’d love to hear them. Comment below and let us know!
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.