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How to Attract Last-Minute Holiday Gift Shoppers

How to Attract Last-Minute Holiday Gift Shoppers
Credit: Aleksei Potov

The holiday season is a busy time, and many people don't get the chance to finish their gift shopping until the very last minute. When nine out of the 10 busiest days for shopping come in December, last-minute shoppers are a demographic businesses can't afford to ignore. Here are five great ideas for making sure last-minute shoppers hurry through your doors.

Offering discounts is naturally a great way to attract more business, but free shipping is what really counts for last-minute shoppers. Many will be looking to ship gifts up until the last week before Christmas, so picking up the tab for shipping on discounted items is a huge incentive for shoppers to buy from your store.

Gift cards are great stocking stuffers or flexible gifts when shoppers just aren't sure what to buy. They also make great last-minute purchases, because they're quick and easy to buy. Last year, holiday shoppers purchased an average of three gift cards each.

It's safe to assume last-minute shoppers in a hurry are likely to at least meet this average, if not exceed it. Boosting your gift card selection and marketing it heavily will attract some late season shoppers.

Mobile is a crucial aspect of gift giving: 64 percent of consumers research their gift ideas on their smartphone. Now imagine you're a last-minute shopper hustling from store to store in search of gifts. You're even more likely to have your phone in your hand, swiping through potential options in a hurried frenzy.

Boosting mobile advertising late in the season will get your products in front of these desperate, ready-to-buy shoppers. Moreover, 76 percent of people who search for gifts on mobile will visit a nearby business within a day, and 28 percent will actually make a purchase.

Events are also a good way to attract more shoppers in general, and during the holidays, it's a smart way to bring in customers looking for specific holiday gifts.

Even something as simple as offering candies or hot chocolate at the front of your store could be enough to bring beleaguered last-minute shoppers through your doors.

Last-minute shoppers tend to come by at, well, the last minute. Stay open later to give them some extra time to explore your selection. And it's not just extending your hours that can help boost sales; retailers that stay open after December 25th have a chance to do even more business.

After Christmas is when 5 percent of all holiday spending occurs, which is not an amount to thumb your nose at. Also, consider the crowds dealing with returns and exchanges; shepherding these shoppers through your doors can result in additional sales. Staying open through New Year's Eve can pay off big time.

Adam C. Uzialko

Adam received his Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University. He worked for a local newspaper and freelanced for several publications after graduating college. He can be reached by email, or follow him on Twitter.