So the Christmas shopping rush has taken its toll already. You’ve barely digested your Christmas ham or turkey and sights are already on what to do on Boxing Day. For many it’s a day to relax, hit the beach, check out some of the new movie releases, or in fact have a left-over lunch to make more room in the fridge. For others (and I mean lots of others), it’s about experiencing the busiest day in the retail calendar by hitting the shops for the sales.
It will be busy. Very busy! But that’s not a deterrent. It’s every person for themselves to try and get their hands on a bargain or too. However, there is still a big price to pay in order to receive those pocket savings. The cost? Stress! That’s why, this year, we need to focus on survival. So before you head out to the shops this year, take note of the following 10 points, to make your experience a little less stressful.
1. Choose somewhere that’s accessible with plenty of parking
Believe it or not, most stress and anger is caused by road rage before you even get into the shops. Look for places that are accessible with lots of different parking options. Be prepared you may not get bay 1A or shaded parking, but there will always be people coming and going, so have some faith.
2. Don’t just make a list, have a plan on where you’ll shop
You may already know what you need to buy (or what you need to return). The biggest mistake shoppers make is listing their products, not the stores. Take note of the stores that carry the items that you want, and make some alternatives. Even check the store map on the website before you go so you have at least some idea on the direction you’re heading.
3. Pick a shopping centre with some cool cafes – shopping can be exhausting
Boxing Day is usually hot. And the line for the one Boost Juice will be long. Look for a place that has some cafés and places to drink. Retail is becoming a destination so pick your shopping based on the other services on offer, not just the biggest stores. You will definitely need a refreshment.
4. Be prepared to wait, but take notice of the modified queue systems for the extra traffic
Retailers get that it will be busy, which is why they prepare for it. So be warned that the queue systems may be different from the way you’re used to (it can literally change overnight). So don’t just barge to the cash register, take note of the orderly lanes that will help make queuing easier for you.
5. Keep your cool – it’s still a joyful time of year
We’re at the half way mark so just a friendly reminder that the Christmas season is still in full swing. It’s a time of giving so all the more reason to ‘give way’ at aisles, queues and even parking bays.
6. Pay attention to the price tags – don’t just read what you think it should say
It is very easy to get caught up in the sales and think everything should be for free. Be realistic and actually read the signs. ‘All items under $20’ is different from ‘prices starting at $20’. Expect bargains but those bargains aren’t always giveaways.
7. Go where you can charge your phone, or invest in a portable charger
Shopping centres are being savvy and are investing in charging stations. But in the absence of these, those portable chargers are a great way to ensure that you have enough juice in your phone to help you Google, browse or get the green light from loved ones to make a purchase.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions at the help/concierge desk – that’s what they are there for
It becomes more frustration, anxious and inconvenient the longer it takes you to figure out where you are going. Exploring cities in Europe may be a fun way to holiday, but this doesn’t translate well in shopping centres. No question is a stupid question – retailers will understand that customers may have their blinkers on and are blinded by the array of Christmas decorations.
9. Watch your valuables, packed shops can be a fertile ground for pickpockets and thieves
Don’t assume that everyone is there to shop. Unfortunately there are some that pray on distracted people, so at all times watch your valuables, including removing any out of view from your car. Saving a few hundred dollars in the shops could easily be wasted on your insurance excess when someone breaks in to your car.
10. Check the terms and conditions of returns, refunds and exchanges before you hit the stores.
The best until last. Boxing Day is the day where people also return, refund or exchange items. So do your research in advance. Also be aware that Aunty Mavis might have bought your unwanted gift back in October, which could cause some problems at the checkout.
That’s it! Good luck! And just one more as a bonus. Don’t get angry if you see Easter Eggs or Hot Cross Buns on the shelves – be strong, no-one is forcing you to buy them.
Chris Smoje is a customer service speaker, trainer, facilitator and founder of the DIME™ Customer Service approach. Chris works with organisations and their people to develop a common interest and excitement about delivering exceptional customer service results: www.dimecustomerservice.com