This past week, tens of millions of Americans rose before the sun and commenced the annual bacchanal of deal-seeking known as Black Friday. While the sale day itself has been extended, creeping further and further into Thanksgiving Thursday, and with Cyber Monday starting a week earlier and Small Business Saturday surging, there has been a lot of new opportunity in recent years, but the dynamics of the brand connection remain the same.
Here’s the thing, while Black Friday is big, it’s really just the appetizer before the main course of the month-long holiday shopping season. And, beyond that, it’s the first impression that could make or break a longtime business connection between certain brands and searching customers. With that in mind, whether you want to connect with your customers in the store or office, on the phone, or online, here are some fundamental tips you need to consider.
Make them Smile
The first, first impression happens the moment you connect. Whether it’s with bleary-eyed and turkey-stuffed Black Friday shoppers or with savvy online hunters clicking for site-to-site for the best deal, you need to give them a reflexive reason to smile. This is about emotions, not logic. Ideally, this is an unbidden response, something they may not even expect. It could be as simple as a kind and sincere voice on the other end of the phone or a silly or charming display in your store. For online, it could be a fast way to immediately connect with what they are looking for or a special deal to thank them for shopping with you.
Deliver Something Memorable
From there, you want to create an experience that is positive, a reason to exceed their expectations and break through the stress of finding the “perfect” gift for “everyone” on their list. This time of year, people are more stressed and more tired than most any other time of year. They feel more pressure and higher emotions. This sounds bad, but it’s also an opportunity. Brand that deliver good feelings in these moments have a greater chance of making a lasting impression because of the strength of emotions.
Make it Easy to Connect
This is a simple “win” that many people actively ignore or decide against. Time and time again, consumers rate simple connective opportunities as one of their biggest reasons for buying, especially online. When faced with a frustrating or complicated searching and purchasing process, consumers will opt out, clicking away to another site, where they may even pay more, just to save themselves the headache. This goes for in-store shopping too. You want to make it easy for people to find what they want when they want it. That means aware, informed, and proactive team members, and easy to follow and understand displays. It takes work, and you have to be proactive, but it beats not making the sale and losing that customer to the competition.
Leave Them Feeling Good
When your customer has completed their transaction, you want their positive feelings directly connected with your brand. It’s not that they found what they were looking for or they got that perfect gift, it’s that your brand made that possible. Do everything you can to immediately and consistently connect your brand with the positive feeling they are having in that moment. There are many ways to do this, from passive branding and active verbal and text connection. Whatever you choose, serve it with a smile and with a message of gratitude, and you are on your way to making the kind of connection that brings the customer back next time they want to smile.
–5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian