Peak shopping days are big business for any retailer. But these large shopping events are skewing normal shopping behaviour as customers wind down their spending and wait for the best prices and offers.
Successful retailers start preparing for the ‘hottest’ sales days at least six months in advance. How do you stack up?
Your first step should be analysis. Lots of analysis. Any information you can gather to assess the past performance of each product category in your inventory will benefit you during the next peak period.
Insight such as sales performance on each marketplace/channel, sales per hour/day, regional trends, profit margins, warehouse efficiency, shipping speeds and customer satisfaction vs return rates is crucial.
This data needs to filter through to your product strategy and merchandise sourcing, enabling you to create stronger marketing campaigns, engage customers in a meaningful way and build targeted offers based on personal preferences.
Product listings are crucial for a high quality customer experience. Buyers don’t have the patience to sift through every available offer.
Good pictures are extremely important, size information should be visible and positive customer reviews should be proudly displayed.
Customer service is equally crucial. Just because it’s a busy period doesn’t mean you can get away with being unresponsive.
One-day delivery is quickly becoming an industry standard and retailers that have already made significant investments in this area are increasing their market share rapidly.
On your list should be a thorough evaluation of warehouse processes and delivery options. Invest in your logistics to provide quick, free delivery options that customers now favour.
Another important aspect to consider is your discount and promotions policy. Knowing in advance what products you expect to sell quickly and their associated profit margins will enable you to prepare ahead of the rush.
Even though the UK is one of the largest e-commerce markets in Europe, you shouldn’t ignore the opportunities offered by international markets and their specific peak shopping days. Expanding your business cross-border can avoid the need for heavy discounting during low season.
Paul Watson, CEO, Volo Commerce