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Holiday Branding at Its Best
By: Cindy Wendland
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December just arrived and already retailers are talking about leveraging the holiday season’s home stretch. What does that mean to you as a brand and what are some of the best ideas out there?

First of all, holiday branding should offer a great customer experience that solidifies your reputation. Make sure everything works — from online lay-a-way to credit card chip readers to in-store holds to redeeming gift cards. Make sure the customer experience is as positive as possible and make the details of the transaction seamless to the customer. Let the customer focus on the excitement of finding great items and the good conversation throughout the transaction.

FREE shipping is important to online shoppers. In surveys, it ranks in the top two reasons why people buy. Free shipping removes the barrier to buying. If a customer likes the item, free shipping helps them pull the trigger to buy now. Web Marketing Today offers ideas on how to offer free shipping without going broke. You could offer free shipping on everything, or you could offer free shipping on certain items or at a minimum threshold or at certain times of the year, or with a coupon code. Free shipping can either be part of your mission statement as to how you sell to the customer or it can be an offer that makes your customers feel special.

Exclusivity is another great holiday branding strategy. Customers like to find those home-run items. These special items should be a limited quantity and preferably available only within your store. Rather than heavily marketing the must-have items for the season, market the “only available here” items that will delight both the giver and receiver.

As much as shoppers want to find the right items, retailers should want to deliver the right branding. Holiday season can be busy and stressful, but it continues to be a time to have your merchandising at its best. No one likes to look through picked-over items or messy or half-filled displays. Continue to freshen your displays and add new items right through December to keep your brand exciting all the way up to the holiday!

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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