Preparing Your Retail Store for the Holiday Season
It’s already August. And you have just about 3 months to prepare for the busiest season of the year. Except for the last two years, retailers have made upwards of 40% of their annual sales in just the two months starting with Halloween. Since this is a bounce-back year post-Pandemic for all retail sales, it is prudent to prepare for it well ahead of time.
You might have it covered when it comes to hiring extra help, managing inventory, optimizing your supply chain and so on. But, given the post-Covid disruptions created by the digitalization of customer engagement, your retail store has a lot of new things on its plate this year.
Here are 5 ways in which you can impact your holiday season retail sales for the better.
Start Your Digital Outreach Now
Brick-and-mortar customers leave behind fewer digital footprints when compared to eCommerce customers. Yet, that is no excuse not to engage your retail customers digitally.
During the lead-up to the sales on Black Friday or Christmas, running email and SMS campaigns to send personalized offers to your customers ensures that you get them to come to you rather than visit a competitor.
You are going to need software that integrates with your point-of-sale system and manages your digital efforts with minimum fuss. Your customer data needs to be organized, curated and segmented to reach out to holiday shoppers with high intent to purchase. It begins with letting them know of your presence and ends with bringing them in with the right offers.
Now is the time to set up a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and a Customer Data Platform (CDP). If there are any kinks in connecting with your customer, you are better off firefighting now than when your staff are busy filling purchase orders during high season.
Focus On Memberships, Rewards, Loyalty
With a plethora of options in front of them, it is difficult to hold the attention of your customers for a long. Come the holiday season, your customers will go where the lights are brighter, the stores are colorful and the deals are sweeter. However, there is one way to make them come back to you.
If you don’t already do it, start a membership/loyalty program and create reward points for purchases your customers make over the next three months. With points accrued already and the promise of a reward down the road, your customers will come back to you to collect more points with their purchases during the season.
Memberships and rewards drive retail loyalty. So, proactively enrolling customers into loyalty programs impacts your sales big time come the busiest period of the year. Moreover, with loyalty programs, you get to collect your customers’ emails and phone numbers. Thus it also helps you stay at the top of your digital marketing game.
Build a Marketing Campaign and Start Merchandising
You are going to need the marketing effort of the year to campaign for just two months of high sales. And everything needs to change. From your packaging to product placement to how your merchandise is seen by your customers.
For example, if you are a hair-care product, tie your shampoo and conditioner in a big red bow. It is a minor change, but it sells more products. Your merchandise needs to live up to the festive spirit. Not just the banners and streamers, your products need to be the center of your customer’s attention.
Campaigning to your customers needs to be an organic effort. From email marketing to ads on social media, you are going to have to pull all the stops. Because your competitors are already there. Here again, you are going to need the help of a marketing automation software that lets you pull the strings from a single glass pane of a dashboard.
Segment Your Customers to Collect Unharvested Revenue
What is the email message you should be sending to Lost But High Value customers and Big Spenders? One thing’s for sure, not the same messaging or promotions. When you differentiate your messaging to customers according to their segments, you directly influence your marketing return on investment.
With the right tool too, you could be creating unique segments to target. For example, if you are a hardware store and want to engage all the customers who bought electrical items and visited you at least 10 times in the last year, you could get that done in a day with a tool like Qubriux. You can then target them with personalized offers to get them to purchase again.
Segmenting your customers like this helps you harvest revenue that is otherwise wasted. It gives you an opportunity to cover your bases and accelerate your revenue over the same period. And when the holiday season comes, sending out targeted offers to different customer segments could make the difference between a good sales revenue and great sales revenue.
Save Those Margins on Your Deals & Discounts
Admittedly, the holiday season is all about the deals. Shoppers wait in a queue overnight and pour in once the doors are open because they get items for a steal price. You have experienced this firsthand- shoppers, on Black Friday hurtling through the aisles and grabbing their deals.
As pleasing as it is to see windfall sales, what matters when you consider your topline are the margins. When you are creating deals this season, you don’t have to provide ultimate offers; you only have to provide a better offer than your competitors. Yet, most of the time you find yourself offering more than you need to and losing out on precious margins.
There is a better way to create those deals. With the right Offer Optimization tool, you can come up with the right offers and the right combos on your products that will not only beat your competition but save larger margins on your sales- a case in point Qubriux Enterprise. Don’t wait till November to implement it. Start now.
We hope you add these five action points to your checklist for preparing your retail store for the busiest holiday season yet. If you have a question or need help with software that optimizes your retail business, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.