Make It Personal

Black Friday has become a very competitive day for buyers to get the best deals.  I know how difficult it can be for a specialty retail store to compete with the malls, chain stores, and online offers that are out there.

BUT I believe the advantage specialty retail has are the personal relationships you develop with your customers and community.  With this in mind, here are some touches you can make to your store for this holiday season.

Festive Atmosphere– Spruce up your store with some twinkly lights, decorations, holiday music and candles.  The cozier your store is, the longer your customers stay.

Treats + Drinks– I can’t say enough about how much this makes a difference.  Customers aren’t used to this in most retail environments and offering treats and drinks will set you apart.  Our Freeport Horny Toad store has even made crepes for customers!

Gift Wrapping– Offer your customers gift wrapping rather than just throwing the gift box and tissue in the bag.  They may not always need it or have the time, but it’s very appreciated by those who want it.  If you are busy and out of time, here are a couple fast and good looking wrapping ideas.

Newspaper and twine are great!   You virtually need no wrapping skills and it still looks awesome.


I know this is a picture for bagging lunches-but how easy and great are these brown paper bags for wrapping accessories?!  Stamp with a holiday stamp, your logo, or just hole-paper punch and tie ribbon.  Super-fast when there is a line at the register.

FINE-TUNE – Take a look at your merchandising and make sure you update your mannequins and tables with holiday-inspired ideas.  Keep what’s on your mannequin close by for customers to grab and add-in accessories that match your theme.

FRESH MARKETING LOOK – Your customers are often repeat and loyal customers, so make changes to the look of your marketing and signage for the holidays.  Throw away the old, used and bent-out-of-shape marketing.

Open + Close Sign – Make new holiday hours signage for your door and remember to post through all your social media outlets.

Return Policy – Make sure your return policy is clear on the receipt and at the register.  My advice is to allow more time for returns and exchanges during this season. It’s a big relief for consumers when they are at the register – don’t make them hesitate to buy.

Sale Signage – Last and most important:  make sure your sale signage and tagging is very clear and clean.  I think changing the font and color of your sale marketing from your regular yearly markdowns makes a huge impact.

I like using vintage frames and loved this picture from Lucky Brand using clipboards to display marketing and sales signage.

FORGET-ME-NOT – Remind your customers who you are and what you can do for them.  Here are some ideas that we have used that worked for us:

-Offer a bounce-back coupon with every shopper.  I feel compelled to use coupons and so do others.

-Update your social media with gift ideas frequently. Plan 2-3 posts a week at least.

-Partner with local non-profits that can get involved with your store.

-Have a children’s choir sing at your store or invite some acoustic musicians to play during the busy hours.

-Offer discounts for food donations or jacket donations (this really made a difference with our local traffic).

– “Thank You” cards or “Thank You” posts after the holiday season is over.  Lizard Lounge likes to take a picture of the entire staff and use it as a post to thank the customers that support them.  This is definitely a personal touch!

Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and a busy selling season!

-via Kelsie Morrow, Merchandizing Manager for Horny Toad Clothing

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