Editor for the Interactive Media in Retail Group, gives his top five tips to manage an increased demand: before, during, and after the festive period.
Retail at Christmas has become massively about Black Friday, but last year it evolved from being a day into a period – with no set start and end. Our research shows retailers on average plan to run campaigns lasting around 7 days this year – which helps to ease the pressure on operations.
Once you have established a timeframe for your campaign that you believe will work for your customers, the next challenge is stimulating interest – the competition for customer spend during this period is intense, so build a strategy to help you stand out and secure your share.
It may seem a remarkably obvious point, but if any part of your site cannot cope with the additional demand you won’t be able to take orders. Make sure to simulate high traffic to identify potential weaknesses in advance – including any third-party or external services that may impact your performance.
If you can take orders, can you fulfil them? Ensure that every department involved – including carriers used – know what type and size of products will be discounted and when, as these are those most likely to sell in high volumes. Also be realistic about delivery lead-times – shoppers often prefer certainty to speed.
Consider post-event marketing campaigns – if you manage to attract new customers by using discounting, they may have been impulse purchases; now they exist in your database, think about how you can convert them into return customers who value what you do and develop loyalty to your brand.