BBB Offers Tips on Wooing Customers This Holiday Season

November 06, 2008

BBB Offers Tips on Wooing Customers This Holiday Season

Inexpensive Marketing Options Could be a Boost to Retailers


RALEIGH, N.C. (November 6, 2008) – With a soft economy, many consumers are tightening their holiday spending budgets this year and becoming more vigilant in their hunt for bargains. In expectation of weak sales, it is to the retailer’s advantage to develop creative ways to attract customers. The Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina ( offers five cost-effective marketing tips that could pay off this holiday season.


“Consumers will be looking for value from businesses and brands they can trust as they feel the squeeze this holiday season,” says Beverly Baskin, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina. “Some companies might be tempted to cut spending by reducing marketing costs, but this may not be the right move to make. There are a number of ways companies can use marketing strategies, even with minimal budgets, to successfully drive customers to their door.”


Following are five tips for holiday marketing on a limited budget:


1. Cross-promotion

Retailers aren’t the only ones who make a substantial percentage of annual income over the holidays. Restaurants, grocery stores, shipping companies and other industries also rely heavily on this season for a bump in sales. One form of inexpensive marketing is cross promotion, where two companies work together to raise awareness of both businesses. For example, some retailers and restaurants hold in-store happy hour events together. Restaurants provide the food and drinks, and retailers provide the location.


2. Partner with a Charity

Unfortunately, this year is expected to hit charities extremely hard as families have less money to spread around. Partnering with a charity, either by supporting a fundraising event or offering to donate a portion of sales, can be a source of good public relations. Business owners might not have a lot of money to spare for contributions, but they can instead donate time, floor space or promote volunteering among the staff.


3. Promote Great Customer Service

When every business is cutting costs and offering bargain basement prices, making a sale can come down to superb customer service. Great customer service is dependent on a friendly, capable and well-educated staff. To this end, retailers should make sure that staff are equipped with the skills to handle frazzled customers, as well as educated on new and popular products. More advice on developing stellar customer service can be found at


4. Cater to the Faithful

Bringing in new customers is always more expensive than creating repeat sales with current customers. For this reason, businesses should consider creative ways of making their longtime patrons feel special. Examples include holding a private sale, appreciation coupons or a little perk such as free shipping for return customers.


5. Move Beyond Simply Offering Sale Prices

Selling as usual probably won’t work this year, as consumers will be looking for any angle that saves them money on that perfect gift or reduce expenses on holiday meals. Businesses need to adapt to consumers' changing desires; those that do and meet customer needs in a tight economy will be the winners this year.