Between changing consumer behaviour and economic uncertainty, retailers really have to be on top of their games with impeccable customer service, competitive pricing and well-stocked products. This has a knock-on effect on retailers during the busy festive season shopping and the race is on to attract new customers, retain old ones and bridge the physical-digital divide. So what are the main things that retailers need to know when planning their holiday season activities?

Customer data as a differentiator in loyalty and growth

Operating an efficient website is no longer enough to run a successful retail business. Understanding your customer and leveraging this knowledge is key to growing any retail business - both online and offline. The more you know about your customer, the more you can cater to their needs and develop a strong relationship with your customer and ensure repeat business. 

Connect customer data

There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than being turfed between departments and needing to repeat themselves because their order isn’t linked inter-departmentally. Shoppers really notice and feel the disconnect between various parts of a business and this is putting retailers under pressure to improve the process by linking them. Top performers in this space are companies who link customer profiles across their various channels, enabling efficiency and improving customer service. This information should be updated in real-time so that customers can avoid repeating themselves unnecessarily and enjoy a streamlined shopping experience. 

Create loyalty-enhancing experiences

Retailers are needing to develop data-for-reward trades in order to get information from their customers. This can take the form of offering members something special in return for their data such as a sneak peek at special deals, getting faster, cheaper delivery and having the ability to attend exclusive events or buy special products. When a customer is given real value in return for their loyalty, they will feel more inclined to offer information. 

Optimised data intelligence

Connecting your customer data may require significant investment. But if you are to really answer your customer’s needs, this is unavoidable. Especially when you consider that data-driven organisations are almost 25 times more likely to acquire new customers and around 6 times more likely to retain their clients. This is because they have reduced the friction in the customer experience, which is essential to drive sales and loyalty during busy shopping periods in the calendar. 

Optimised data intelligence can be seen in the following ways:

  • Customised sorting and search options with embedded AI is a must. This refers to when customers can quickly find exactly what they are looking for, leaving them satisfied and ready to return for more.
  • Related product displays engage the customer by offering them recommendations, and encouraging conversion of customers. This simplifies a potentially overwhelming shopping experience for the customer and encourages larger basket sizes too.
  • Smart product bundling encourages larger basket sizes. This involves analysing what that customer has bought in the past and estimating what would be convenient in addition to these items. 
  • Stay top of mind by staying in touch with your customers beyond the final purchase point. Invite them to rate their interaction and follow up with similar products in a sensible time frame.

The bottom line

The holiday season is upon us and there is no better time to up your game. This is crucial as the stakes have never been higher for retailers - between complex economic trends, increased competition and shifting consumer needs, retailers need to pivot and rethink how they are approaching the holiday period and beyond. 

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