December is just around the corner and there is uncertainty about what this year’s holiday shopping season will be like for retail. Brands that have plans in place for how they will execute their holiday strategies will be best poised to manage unexpected events resulting from economic challenges.
Solid preparation at the start of the holiday season is key to success. Here are three actionable steps retailers can take to actively prepare for a profitable 2022 holiday shopping season given today’s dynamic market conditions.
1. Stress Test Your Data
According to the National Retail Federation, 46% of shoppers will start their holiday shopping earlier this year compared to 2021.
The 2022 holiday shopping season is anticipated to start earlier than years past. Are there new ways of driving success that you want to incorporate into your holiday strategy? The most successful retailers are shifting to optimize marketing programs for profitability and not just revenue. Get your systems cross-functionally aligned now to establish a solid baseline going into this year’s holiday season.
With detailed, up-to-date, and reliable data integrations, you will be confident in the accuracy of your data and your decisions. Having access to accurate data enables you to precisely pivot on profit opportunities and reduce and mitigate risks throughout the entire holiday shopping season, capturing early shoppers through to those last-minute buyers.
2. Solidify Your Marketing and Promotions Plan
According to McKinsey, 70% of shoppers faced with out-of-stock products have switched retailers or brands.
Take time to do a deep analysis of past promotions and seasonal deals to identify what drove success and profitability, and what did not. Identify which promotions you should and should not repeat. Leverage data from successful promotions as a baseline to drive new strategies for this year’s holiday season that we know will be challenging given the current economic environment. Likewise, review top performing promotions by customer segment to prioritize which segments to prioritize for different promotions and marketing channels.
Preparing in advance ensures you have enough inventory on-hand for products you plan to promote and market during the holiday season. This planning will guarantee you have enough depth and variety of products available for each of your customer segments. Doing so will allow you to maximize sales this holiday selling season and ensure you do not lose a sale or customer.
3. More Ways to Shop
According to an NPD survey of U.S. consumers, 85% of consumers will include online shopping in their holiday plans.
There are many different customer shopping behaviors based on need and convenience. Offering a variety of digital purchase options like ship to home, same-day home delivery, and in-store pick-up, in addition to payment options such as “buy now, pay later” will improve return purchase rates and customer loyalty. Advanced customer experiences related to product fits and sizing can also positively impact sales and customer loyalty.
The holidays are often a stressful time for people. Transparency and over communication on topics like return policies and online orders can only help. Customers want to know what is happening with their orders and when they will arrive. Communicating all potential order issues via email, text message, Facebook messenger, etc., as soon as possible will help maintain on-going customer loyalty while preventing customer service inquiries from ballooning.
Set your team up for success this holiday season by taking the time to prepare for the holidays now and ensure that you are in the best possible position to have record sales and the most successful holiday shopping season yet.
Best is the CEO and co-founder of SoundCommerce — a data platform company that helps brands deliver world-class, profitable retail shopping experiences. With more than 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and executive, Best is a tenured leader in consumer-direct and retail commerce, SaaS, cloud integration, digital currency and digital advertising.