I’m a sucker for timely retailers. Perhaps it’s my journalism background that keeps me on my toes with current events, but I think we can all agree that keeping things current can only help our businesses. But what can we talk about that won’t ruffle anyone’s feathers – that isn’t too heavy and won’t take our customers’ minds off what we want them to be doing: buying?
Why, the weather, of course! Every grandma and grandchild out there knows, if you can’t figure out what to talk about, just look outside and start making observations.
With summer’s end creeping up before we all know it, here are a few things you retailers can do to entertain your shoppers, keep them on their toes, and let them know that you sympathize with them about trying to get the most out of the next month and a half or so of fun times. (Not to mention entice them to buy something that perhaps they didn’t even know they needed before Labor Day.)
1. Weather app: If your site is one that has already built a profile for your users, accounting for their location and nearest stores, you are ahead of the game. But why not go one step further and give them a widget that shows them the temp in their area? Then go even further still and have some of your internal team members make comments advising customers what, specifically, they should shop for, given that temp. “Oooh, it’s a scorcher out there – think you need to head over to the shorts section,” or, “Looks like thunderstorms are coming your way – is your home protected?” Any time you can inform your shopper about things s/he cares about that doesn’t lead them off the site is a good thing.
2. Summer countdown: Believe it or not, Memorial Day and July 4th have come and gone (what?!) and your customers are probably feeling the pinch (“I need to get as much summer fun in as possible!”) Put a countdown to the end of summer on your homepage, then a link to 5 or 10 things they should do before summer ends, preferably activities that relate to purchases which can be made on your site.
3. Quick buying guide: Whatever products you sell, surely there are some that are more summer appropriate than others. Have one of your savviest marketers put together a list of five things that s/he can’t live without before September, and create a landing page with his/her picture at the top and five to 10 items for purchase. Have him/her write a quick sentence or two as an intro that gives customers a sense of who this person is and gives them someone to relate to. Do this once a week until the end of summer and then you can gauge who’s recommendations were the most popular. Then deem him/her the best “editor” you’ve got. Afterall, that’s what you’ve just made them into.
4. Finally, Give your customers a BREAK! If there’s anytime of year to be forgiving, it’s those months where we can barely step outside for fear of melting. It’s too hot to fight, people! So, if your customers ordered something erroneously, or didn’t recognize a shipping charge that you assessed or call because they received their order three weeks late – give them something that makes them understand how much you value them. Decide internally what that is – perhaps it’s a threshold (if customers spend more than $1,000 on one order, forgive them a certain fee for a return, or if they have ordered previously and show signs of loyalty, mail them a gift card.) You’ll be shocked to see how many of them post things like, “Wooohoo, my favorite appliance store just hooked me up – happy summer all!”