The recent COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected supply chains worldwide, which has forced many to change the way they handle their production, inventories, and pretty much all other aspects of operations. Seeing as the holiday season is just around the corner, retailers need to ensure they have everything set to meet the spike in demand that happens around this time of year.
This is especially true given how seasonal shoppers over the past several years have been purchasing early to secure the things they want in order to avoid the stress of holiday shopping.
With consumers worrying about gifts being out of stock or being late in time for the coming holidays, it’s important for business owners to have a solid plan to get them through the festivities while keeping people happy.
Having said that, we’ve prepared a 2022 retail holiday planning guide for retailers. This guide will contain important tips that will help prepare your business in the following months and ensure you can fulfill the needs of your consumers.
Tip #1: Take Advantage of Data To Encourage Loyal Consumers
As a retailer, it’s important to know that data about your customers is the key that can drive them to become loyal brand ambassadors. Business owners can use this information to create personalized offers for existing consumers.
In fact, many retailers today are relying on their loyalty programs to gather data that they can use to create customized offers for their customers. However, retailers need to ensure that their programs are actually worthwhile by providing amazing rewards.
One way they can do this is by going past their transactions and focusing on improving experiences. Providing exclusive access to limited items, for instance, can be a great start.
Other ways you can provide an enhanced experience for buyers include:
- Offering early access to upcoming deals
- Providing fast shipping
- Inviting buyers to exclusive events
Tip #2: Develop a Seamless Buying Journey
Convenience is one of the top priorities of customers when shopping for the upcoming holidays. Although shopping through different channels is now possible, it’s also becoming more complicated for retailers to manage.
To minimize complexity despite using a range of sales channels, retailers can instead ensure their back-end systems are connected to their stores to provide real-time information. This allows their associates to view essential details in real-time, such as the availability of stocks to fulfill orders seamlessly.
With the upcoming holiday shopping season, retailers will continue to face high demand and may even experience shortages of their products. But, having a real-time view of in-store and warehouse inventories can provide business owners with a way to handle products before they go out of stock.
Tip #3: Provide Consistent Service to Customers
Customers nowadays are buying less and doing so from fewer businesses. Fortunately, it’s still possible to develop ideal customer relationships even when buyers are a little bit tight on spending.
One of the best ways to encourage people to purchase is by providing excellent and consistent customer service. In fact, consumers are more likely to make another purchase when presented with great customer service. This is particularly important since 80% of shoppers have been found to give up on a retailer if they have had at least 3 negative experiences with them.
A great solution here is providing associates with the right information on customers that will allow them to answer inquiries immediately. These questions normally involve the availability of items, delivery status, and loyalty rewards.
It’s even possible to interlink physical and digital experiences so that staff can provide dynamic interaction choices to consumers. When service agents are provided with the data they need, they can easily satisfy customers and entice them to come back for more.
Tip #4: Take Advantage of Digital Capabilities
If you’re still operating an exclusive brick-and-mortar approach for your business, then now is the right time to digitize your shopping experience. This is especially true since consumers nowadays are looking for businesses that can adapt to their changing needs.
When you have a platform that can connect your physical store to data such as digital profiles, preferences, and purchase history of your customers, your staff can:
- Provide personalized service to consumers
- Check availability of products in real-time
- Confirm pricing, discounts, and promotions
- Enhance communications and collaborations
- Allow managers to train and onboard new employees
Tip #5: Improve B2B Relationships
Finally, retailers need to focus on making new relationships with partners in the industry and developing existing ones. Without seamless execution upstream, businesses won’t be able to provide amazing experiences to their customers.
One of the best ways you can break down barriers and promote collaboration with partners is by being transparent. Data transparency with supply chain partners can help you avoid going out of stock on particularly in-demand items while allowing you to forecast demands accurately.
Taking advantage of modern order management features can let you link your systems with order information so you can manage your workflows easily. Doing so also helps you make the most of your supply chain using tools like inventory APIs that can provide you with an in-depth look at your inventory.
When you promote transparency within your supply chain, you’re helping yourself make smarter decisions, drive customer loyalty, and increase your bottom line.
These are the best tips that retailers can follow to prepare themselves and their businesses for the upcoming holidays. By taking advantage of the information provided, you have a better chance of maintaining positive relationships with new and existing customers of your brand. And remember, getting your marketing moving as early as possible is best in order to gain those early sales.