Christmas is the largest annual sales driver, contributing more than 45%. It’s an exciting time of year with many opportunities for retailers to show off what they have and engage with shoppers! Here are some key dates to remember throughout November and December:
- Click Frenzy – November 9 – 11 – A campaign that combines Australia’s largest bargains into one centralized online shopping experience, and it’s well worth participating in.
- Black Friday – November 25th – Black Friday, which originated in the United States, is becoming increasingly popular in Australia.
- Small Business Saturday – November 26th – Customers are encouraged to ‘shop small’ and support local companies, as begun by American Express.
- Cyber Monday – November 28th – Following Black Friday, Cyber Monday focuses on onilne shopping.
- Free Shipping Day – December 14th – Customers have one more day to order online for assured free delivery before Christmas.
- Super Saturday – December 17th – The last Saturday before Christmas
- Boxing Day – December 26th – One word: sales, sales, sales.
Seasonal shopping events are a great way to get more customers into your store. Many retailers have had trouble with these occasions, but with some preparation, it can increase the chance of attracting keen seasonal shoppers – and potentially turning them into long-time returning clients.
Based on our experience working for Australian & New Zealand based companies here’s three areas that need attention when planning out promotions during the silly season:
1. Optimise Your In-Store and Online Experience So They’re Efficient & Engaging
Australian and New Zealand shoppers are making an effort to get more out of their shopping experience by using all channels. They continue coming in-store for big purchases, but also use online resources like Google or Facebook when they research what is available locally before visiting physical stores.
Consumers have also been combining traditional methods with modern technology when it comes to purchasing items off the shelf; Australians especially seem committed – preferring this approach over just doing most things digitally from the start (which many do). But because of the lack of cross-channel options to make a purchase, two out of every five shoppers abandon a sale.
Given that the Christmas season is when consumers spend the most money and have the most choices (with many present selections to make), such efficiency is essential. This implies stores must improve their in-store experience to increase the likelihood of making a sale and establishing long-term customers. It’s critical to increase sales and minimise cart abandonment by ensuring your shop, employees, and technologies are ready to engage customers, respond quickly, and generate suggested purchases. It’s vital to maximize revenues and minimize abandonments. With a large number of casual staff in operation during the festive season, retailers need to provide them with intuitive, intelligent systems and technology to help bridge the knowledge gap.
You must also make certain that your customers have a single, coherent online shopping experience that maximizes in-store purchases and eCommerce sales. According to a recent Deloitte poll, digitally influenced in-store purchases accounted for more than five times as much as pure eCommerce transactions. In other words, it is now typical for in-store buyers to do research on a brand or item online first.
Furthermore, 67% of people will browse a retailer’s site first, before heading to physical stores. Offering Click & Collect and In-Store Stock Check based on real-time inventory is one major way to drive such in-store visits. Australian shoppers prefer those with a Click & Collect service for the reasons of ‘avoiding home delivery charges’ (45% of shoppers) and because ‘it is more convenient than home delivery’ (37% of shoppers). Black Friday and Cyber Monday are examples of online-sales driven events, which offer retailers the opportunity to transform these into in-store visits.
When it comes to both in-store and internet sales, ensuring you have the appropriate fulfillment choices and that they meet / exceed delivery deadlines is critical during the holiday season. Customers will be hesitant to buy from you if they don’t believe their purchases will arrive on time, and your conversion rates will drop.
2. Ensure Inventory / Product Availability
During the holiday season, when there are a lot of gifts to buy and little time, customers are even less tolerant of retailers not having sufficient stock. As a result, having the appropriate product assortment accessible and inventory levels in each of your stores and channels properly managed is necessary; but this is still one of the most common failures we see in Australian and New Zealand retail. Understocking and overstocking also results in a drastic amount of lost sales with the average retailer losing 4% of potential revenue due to 31% of customers buying products from other retailers when items are not immediately available for purchase. Those retailers who can exceed customer expectations and offer the quickest and easiest access to a selection of the best products to meet their needs, can secure a powerful source of sustainable competitive advantage.
Some retailers nowadays utilize an Endless Aisles business model, in which each of their outlets and channels may access all inventory throughout the entire supply chain. This business model enables them to optimize product availability and choice while also improving the customer experience.
3. Before and after the season, maximize profiling and targeted marketing.
Now is the time for businesses to get their digital marketing in order to promote online and store visits while also increasing brand recognition. This should include digital advertising, social media campaigns, and email advertisements, as well as on-store signage and visual merchandising. By drawing on consumer profile data, all of these campaigns may be tailored to match a variety of demographics and product preferences. For continuous personalisation, loyalty programs, and marketing to drive repeat store visits and maximum lifetime value into the new year, capturing all visitors’ and customers’ names and profiles (both physical and online) is essential throughout the holiday season.
If essential customer data is collected, there are a plethora of existing customer growth and loyalty programs you may participate in. However, many businesses allow customers to walk away without being identified and miss the opportunity to make them repeat customers.
The silly season is nearly upon us!
This year is going to be a big year for online retail, so having a solid marketing plan is more important than ever.