Summer is now coming to an end, and as we start to use the last of our sun cream and hang up our swimsuits; you wouldn't think twice about the snowy months of December and everyone's favourite jolly holiday. Yes, in this blog we are talking about Christmas...and it's closer than you think.
Santa takes a whole year to plan for his one night of deliveries, and whilst your business should never need this long - retail success at Christmas takes some careful consideration and forward planning. The pressure is growing to meet consumer and client demand across multiple channels, so we've written 4 tips for all retail brands to follow to beat the seasonal rush;
1) Christmas starts in September.
Many years ago the approach of a cold December and the glittering themed high street lights would be a sign that Christmas was in full flow; but in a world of ecommerce and ever growing customer connectivity, the holiday cheer is starting earlier and earlier. Recent data has shown that 40% of the British public will have started their Christmas shopping by October - so make sure you start to build relationships with customers early by offering advice and inspiration where possible on your must-have products and approaching sales.
image credit: telegraph.com
2) Be prepared for Black Friday
Starting out as an American tradition, aptly named to signify retailers going "into the black" rather than being "in the red" over the financial year - high street and online retailers issue drastic price drops on products in order to entice customers and kick off the holiday season. Black Friday is the last Friday of November after Thanksgiving - and last year, an estimated £180 million was spent online in the UK, with retailers offering discounts with a sales uplift of 180%...even those that didn’t offer any discounts saw an uplift of sales at 24% on this one day.
Many retail businesses were not prepared to handle the volume of demand and ecommerce sites went down and orders missed; is your website mobile ready and able to handle the rush? Start planning your Black Friday discounts and hiring staff to manage orders so you can keep on top of the demand.
image credit: retail-week.com
3) Make sure you're mobile ready
Last Christmas, sales via smartphones and tablets went up by 55% and those who shopped across multiple channels and devices such as high street and mobile, spent four times as much money as those who didn’t. Surprisingly, recent reports show 40% of top retailers don't have a mobile responsive site.
A non-responsive website will be detrimental to your overall sales, because consumers are not always looking buy; the visitors to your site could trying be to find out brand information or product updates and you need to be ready to receive and convert that traffic to sales.
4) Lights, Camera, Action
We all know how popular the John Lewis Christmas adverts have become, and over the years other companies and retailers have been producing their own delightful, emotional works of art to pull at our heart strings. Last year, online views of Christmas adverts were over 3,000% and increase year on year. With YouTube becoming increasingly popular, video watch time is growing 60% year on year, so it's important to ensure your adverts are seen on this growing platform.
Data is showing that overall, consumers are happy to spend more time watching or engaging with branded content, as long as it’s visually entertaining and relevant to them.
Lastminute.com, “Get Christmas right this year,” 16 December 2014 National Retail Federation “Holiday Survival Kit 2014,” October 2014 Ideal Home Show at Christmas Survey, October 2014 BI Intelligence, “The E-Commerce Report,” 5 February 2015 YouTube Christmas 2014 report.