From sweet-on-the-feet commercial flooring to interactive product displays that incorporate sound and video, stores use a variety of marketing tools to make you feel welcome, wanted, and generous during the holidays. As you're scouting for deals this holiday season, keep your eyes open for these five 'come-hither' tactics employed by retailers:
* Fatigue-fighting flooring - As you scurry from store to store, you probably haven't considered the toll that average store flooring takes on your feet. Concrete floors, covered by carpet, tile, or vinyl, are common in retail settings, and they can contribute to foot fatigue. Savvy retailers realize that if your feet hurt, you're not likely to linger in one spot. By installing flooring with anti-fatigue properties, like ECORE's forest rx, stores hope to keep shoppers more comfortable. While the flooring looks like hardwood - adding a touch of class in retail settings - it's really a revolutionary composite of vinyl sheet laminated to 5 millimeters of engineered, recycled rubber underlayment. It's more comfortable underfoot, easier to keep clean, and quieter than tile and some carpet - all of which adds up to a more pleasant environment for shoppers.
* Lights, camera, action! - Taking advantage of new technologies, many retailers have added interactive video displays throughout stores to entice shoppers to pause and learn more about a featured product. Some employ touchscreen technology to engage shoppers whose interest is already piqued by video and sound displays. Others have even added features that interact with shoppers' smartphones, such as scannable barcodes that deliver information or coupons to a user's phone.
* An oldie but still a goodie - For a while, department stores stepped away from the whole concept of free gift wrapping, but these days it's back in a big way. From big department stores to mom-and-pop gift shops, retailers have rediscovered the value of providing this service to customers. Free gift wrapping is a relatively low-cost service, but it's hugely valuable - both to time-pressed customers who appreciate the convenience, and for retailers who are able to keep shoppers in-store a bit longer while wrapping takes place.
* The way to a shopper's heart - Another tried-and-true holiday enticement is food and beverage. You might expect to find samples in a grocery store or wine shop, but enterprising retailers know refreshments are welcome, regardless of what product they're selling. During the holidays, clothing stores to hardware shops find their way into consumers' hearts via their stomachs, serving a variety of treats that range from specialty candies available for sale in the store to holiday cookies, cider, or hot chocolate.
* Y'all come back now - No matter how delightful your shopping experience, eventually you're going to leave the store. Smart retailers use a variety of tactics to encourage you to return another day - from handing out coupons for future discounts at the cash register when you check out, to 'greeters' who also bid you a fond farewell on your way out the door. Marketers know that if they can leave you with a positive feeling and a reason to return, you're much more likely to shop in their store again.
Of course, retailers have many ways to draw consumers into their stores. And as the holidays arrive, they'll be adding incentives like these to ensure shoppers enjoy their time in stores more - and hopefully spend more because of it.