Commodity or Connection
I'm convinced that the retailers who are going to succeed this holiday season can be sorted into two categories. In the first category are those stores who successfully drive the most traffic with their low price, commodity approach. These are, of course, the stores the media and Wall Street will obsess about.
In the second category will be the retailers who deliver an amazing holiday experience that emotionally connects with their customer. I know that many of you are in this category.
The retailers that fall somewhere between commodity and connection will see only a small bump from last year's number, and could even lose business to the other two types of retailers.
Although consumers aren't returning to the pre-recession spending levels, I believe they will be spending more this year than last. More important, shoppers will make more impulse purchases, which will especially benefit experience-based specialty retailers.
Not only is it the most wonderful time of the year, all specialty retailers can and need to make their stores the most wonderful places of the year.
Black Friday Oasis
The best way to connect with your customers this weekend is to be a Black Friday Weekend Oasis. If you look up the word "oasis" in the dictionary you'll see that it means something serving as a refuge, relief, or pleasant change from what is usual, annoying, difficult, etc.:
A friendly energetic customer-focused staff, food, warm and welcoming environment, drinks, and plenty of seating are some of the best ways to create an oasis amidst a shopping frenzy. On a busy weekend like this one, offering a place for customers to slow down and catch their breath is a wonderful way to deliver a WOW. Don't hesitate to have a few extra chairs around this weekend.
Another key to a retailer's Black Friday success is leadership:
Here are some things you can do to be a successful leader this weekend.
1. Be a positive force. Make working in your store a great experience so your staff delivers a great customer experience.
2. Energize your team. Keep your team focused, upbeat, and on their game. Remember, the speed of the captain is the speed of the ship.
3. Recognize your staff's performance. Acknowledge both right behavior and results.
4. Keep coaching no matter how busy you get. Help each person be even better today.
5. Don't stress. If you get stressed, everyone gets stressed. Relax and have fun.
6. Have a Daily Take Five meeting with every employee. Never miss the chance to engage, inspire, and focus your staff on exceeding every customer's expectations.
7. Be extraordinary!
Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it, and best of luck to everyone this Black Friday Weekend.