How to attract new customers during Christmas

13 December 2023, 08:29 AM
  • Discover marketing ideas for fine food retailers to attract new customers during the festive season and beyond
How to attract new customers during Christmas

‘Tis the season for customers to take to their local high streets and pop in and out of shops in search of the perfect gift for a loved one or a showstopping dish that will complete a festive table.

For fine food retailers, it’s a great time to welcome new customers into your shop, which has been kitted out with Christmas decorations and stocked up with delicious treats just for the occasion.

“Throughout the festive season retailers need to delight customers with their offerings, offer the solution to finding the perfect present and help them make magical moments with loved ones,” says Catherine Erdly, founder of the Resilient Retail Club.

And even though your customers’ finances may be stretched for yet another year, experts are still expecting them to splash out on the big day. “While the customer has a budget to stick to, they still want products that will wow the recipients,” Catherine agrees. “This is where small businesses can shine, because they can share the meaning, quality and special nature of their products with their customers.”

Christmas marketing tips for fine food retailers

By now, your festive window displays should be up, your Christmas hampers should be out and if you have an online shop the Christmas orders are likely already pouring in.

If you still need a little inspiration to boost your sales and attract new customers though, Catherine shares her tips below. “There are so many ways business owners can attract new customers throughout the festive period through clear messaging,” she says. “Here’s an inspiration list of marketing ideas.”

1. In-store events

Holding a big event in your shop is guaranteed to boost footfall. Catherine suggests holding a launch event in-store for your Christmas products, but as the big day draws nearer, regular tasting events with Christmas tunes and mulled wine can make for a special evening for customers.

“Each Saturday we hold what we call ‘Sample Saturday’ where we showcase one or two cheeses for customers to sample. We invite local cheesemakers to come along and present their cheeses – this always goes down a storm with our customers and gives the cheesemakers direct feedback on their products”, Stephen Fleming, owner of George & Joseph, previously told Speciality Food.

2. Make a gift guide

A simple blog post, email newsletter or social media post with gifting suggestions can inspire customers who may not have thought of foodie gifts for their loved ones. Food gifts can be great for those difficult-to-shop-for people who don’t like excess ‘stuff’, which can be a great angle for retailers to take.

3. Festive offers

Catherine suggests that retailers can experiment with offers to attract new customers who need that extra nudge to pop into your store. Try free shipping offers for online customers, offering a free item for purchases over a certain amount or targeted discounts to help clear out slower-moving stock.

4. Give customers a taste

Any retailer worth their salt knows that samples provide an excellent avenue for securing sales, but during the festive season why not take this up a notch? As well as weekly themed tasting events, like ‘Sample Saturdays’ or ‘Tasting Thursdays’, could you provide a cooking demonstration to give customers recipe ideas for the big day? If you have a cafe or restaurant on site, your Christmas menus could signpost products in your shop so customers can taste before they buy.

5. Teamwork makes the dream work

Many customers are already keen to support independent shops and makers during the festive season, and by teaming up you can give them more bang for their buck. Catherine advises shining a spotlight on a particular producer or collaborating with other local businesses to cross-promote an offer. Bundling up local producers in themed hampers also works a treat at Christmas time.

6. Ease customers’ stress

Retailers aren’t the only ones with a lot on their plates in the run-up to Christmas. By making an effort to make customers’ lives a little easier, you can win new - and loyal - custom. Catherine recommends creating food shopping printable planners or checklists to help customers stay organised in their Christmas food shopping.

7. Get in the festive spirit

As well as ensuring your shop looks the part, you can share the festive spirit with customers by hosting giveaways, raffles or other types of competitions. Whether you hold them in your shop or on social media, it can be a great way to spread the word.

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