Retail at Christmas. Christmas is the busiest time of the year for the retail sector. Statistics don’t lie:
- Ireland: Volume of retail sales up 7.2% in December 2018 (Irish Times)
- UK: 821 GBP was the average expected spend of households on Christmas in Great Britain in 2017 (Statista)
- USA: Retail sales 680.4 billion in USA Dollars (Statista)
However, the expected spend of households doesn’t guarantee the success of your Christmas campaign. The good performance of your business during the holiday season will be determined by three stages:
- Preparation of the Christmas campaign
- Performance during the holidays
- Relationship with your buyers after the Christmas season
In this blog, we provide you with suggestions to have a successful and survive in retail at Christmas.
Prepare to succeed: customer satisfaction before Christmas
While sales will increase at Christmas, customer satisfaction is a year around business in the retail sector. Your marketing and sales departments work daily to develop long-lasting relationships while building your brand. Preparation for the Christmas campaign is key. Your team will be busy hiring and train new team members to meet the seasonal demand, new products and merchandising will arrive in stores, logistics will be working around the clock… What else can you do to increase sales? Consider the following:
- Ask your existing customers to identify opportunities
- Incentive your potential buyers using promotions and vouchers
- Launch your own click and collect functionality on your website
- Increase your presence in Social media
Celebrating the holidays: Increasing sales during the Christmas period
Cross-selling and up-selling are the two techniques to increase sales during this busy period; however, they require time and a team familiar with your products / services. Hiring and training new staff can be the best solution if you have the resources and a constant flow of customers. However, for these businesses that have high seasonality (e.g. two or three weeks before Christmas) the recruitment process can be a long road where you are competing with other organizations offering more comprehensive packages to the same potential recruits (e.g. more number of hours, higher salary, future job opportunities). For all these companies who prefer to focus on their core team, recruitment agencies for physical location and contact centres for virtual assistance can be a great solution. Additional team members can be added to the existing team to meet the increased demands without a long-term commitment with the employee while benefiting of their skillset and experience. In the specific case of virtual assistance, call centre agents can support your customers using a variety of channels such as phone, e-mail, live chat, social media or text messages. Support can be provided in all buyer lifecycle from information gathering, to sales, cross-selling, up-selling, processing payment, tracking packages & deliveries, supporting IT and ‘How to’ enquiries, managing warranties, processing refunds & collections, and any related administrative activities. In conclusion, you can increase your sales during Christmas by providing better support to your customers and suggesting additional purchase items.
Christmas hangover? Keeping your customers all year round
Christmas is over and you are thinking about relaxing? Think about it again. After a successful campaign, there could be outstanding elements including the procession of returns, management of guarantees or even some ‘How to’ related questions. Managing any enquiries at this point is as important as the sales process. In a world where customers are digital savvy, a positive or negative experience with a brand can be quickly shared using social media channels. A happy customer can become your best salesperson as they can refer your business using real-life recommendations / experiences. Therefore, it is worth to invest in the full customer journey and not only focus on the high-rush sale period of Christmas. The ability to keep customers all year round can be summarised through two approaches: positive experience and continuous engagement. While we have seen how a positive experience with your brand can increase sales organically, the memory of this positive interaction can fade over time. Hence, a continuous engagement with your previous and current buyers can keep the momentum going as long as your offering suits buyers needs and interests. Through different marketing techniques, you can continuously offer personalised offers and create a conversation around your brand. Combining the power of customer support and marketing will keep your customers all year around.
For further information about how Arema Connect can support your sales effort this Christmas, contact us.