The holiday shopping season is officially in full swing — and consumers are ready to spend.
But this year’s busy period is set to be unlike any other. Set on the backdrop of the pandemic, which transformed the way we shop, e-commerce merchants are now competing in an ever-evolving marketplace with higher than ever consumer expectations.
“Retailers are facing fresh challenges this year – they’ll need to do a lot more than offer consumers next day delivery and competitive prices in order to thrive,” said Mark Hook, Global Director of PR and Communications at Brightpearl.
“The good news is that regardless of what industry merchants operate in or which demographic they serve, there are steps they can take now to maximise their success.”
Let’s look at the top five things retailers can do to smash the holiday shopping season…
- Get to really know your customers
Forget template profiles of the ‘average’ customer. To smash the holiday season, you need to get closer to your customers than ever.
“Actually talk with your customers and ask them about their shopping plans and what they want to see from you,” says Mark.
“By getting inside customers’ heads — and hearts — retailers can gain necessary insights about what will make them happy, and then act on it.”
2. Adopt new shopping channels
Merchants are now operating in the Hyper-scalable Era, where their success hinges on the ability to rapidly curate new services and deploy better online shopping experiences. A key part of this is being aware of and able to adopt the latest shopping channels.
“Our research shows that this year 25% of shoppers in the UK plan to spend most of their budget on non-traditional channels, such as TikTok, WhatsApp, Pinterest and live streaming,” Mark added.
“Retailers must have a hyper-scalable operating system at their core in order to be able to quickly curate a changing roster of the best tech to suit their needs, including enabling them to easily add the very latest shopping channels.”
3. Promote products the smart way
The festive season — and the promotions that come with it, such as Black Friday and Boxing Day sales — are the perfect opportunity to move on slow products that have been sitting in a warehouse for months.
“With the right tech on their side, retailers can use the holiday season to release cash locked up in slow-moving products,” says Mark.
“Market-leading tools such as Inventory Planner Premium flag which products are holding your business back and make it easy to bundle less popular products with best-sellers.”
4. Reward loyalty
It’s cheaper and easier to keep the customers you already have than to try to recruit new ones — and a tried-and-tested way to do exactly that is by rewarding loyal customers. It’s a good idea to do it all year round, but it’s especially important at Christmas.
“Use CRM via your operating system to see at-a-glance who your most loyal customers are – and automatically arrange for them to be sent a Christmas treat in the mail or an email with an incentive to come back,” Mark said.
5. Get into the holiday spirit
It’s hard to feel festive when you’re stressed out and overwhelmed by manual processes. Automating time-consuming manual processes frees up retailers to focus on giving their customers a fun shopping experience that keeps them coming back.
“Our customers save on average two months every year, eliminate errors and reduce costs by using our Automation Engine,” Mark revealed.
“It means they don’t fall victim to the human errors that can creep in when things get busy, and they have the time and energy needed to make the most of the opportunities that come with this time of year.”