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Personalization in Retail: How Small Stores Can Beat Online Shopping

How to personalize the in-store experience for your customers.Personalizing the shopping experienceWhile we know that lots of people will be holiday shopping online, there is still something special about going into a store to buy gifts. The decorations, that Christmassy smell, and the helpful sales clerk that knows just the right gift. This year, you can make the moment even more special for shoppers (and remind them to visit year-round!) by personalizing the shopping experience in simple, but meaningful, ways that only small shops can carry off.

Gift Wrap
Offer custom gift wrapping for your customers. This should include either bags with tissue paper or boxes and wrapping paper. Have these wrapping items available in your store colors but also have something for the holidays and consider boy and girl birthday wrapping if you have children’s items. Pro-Tip: sometimes wrapping can take a long time and could significantly slow down the checkout process. If you aren’t staffed for it, consider creating a small “wrapping bar” and letting shoppers customize presents themselves.

Many gift shops offer their customers coffee while shopping. So set yourself apart by using teacups with waterproof chalkboard labels affixed to them. When you offer a customer coffee ask their name and write it on the label before handing them their beverage. This will make the coffee more special and give you a chance to get to know your customer a little bit more. Pro-Tip: Consider offering few flavored syrups (which don’t spoil or require refrigeration) to make the coffee extra special.

When shoppers have children in tow, make the experience special for them by including them in your “All-Star Wall” a section of wall near the cash register where you showcase polaroid’s of your customer’s kiddos. Make it more fun for them by offering a few photobooth props and then write their name and date on the bottom of the picture and put it on the wall. Suddenly your store is part of the community and parents (and grandparents too!) can claim bragging rights. Pro-Tip: Don’t forget your shoppers’ fur babies; consider allowing dogs on your wall too.

By designating a small area of the store to honor your shopper’s favorite little people, by getting to know them by name and by offering a polished present, you’re elevating your store and creating a space that the digital world cannot compete with. These elements of personalization will create a shopping experience that your customers will want to come back to.

Are you using personalization to create a customized shopping experience for your customers? Does it include coffee, gift wrap…or something else? We’d love to hear about your store in the comments below.

Melrose International is an industry leader in wholesale home décor, giftware, and seasonal items. Providing outstanding products, service, design, and value since 1985!

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