It’s almost the final stretch of the year, which means it’s that time of the year again. Holiday 2017 is around the corner and understandably, it calls for much excitement among both customers and retailers. While brands and retailers look at it as an opportunity to skyrocket sales and generate high revenue, the customers would want to get the best value in return for the money they spend. As usual, customer expectations are expected to soar beyond belief. Retailers have no choice but to fulfill them to have a good holiday themselves.
Although the holidays are still a little bit away, brands and retailers should be ready and prepared once they arrive. Here are a few things they should know.
In-store marketing will be important as shoppers will hit the stores
This holiday season, customers will not restrict themselves to only shopping online. With omnichannel retailing being the modern-day norm, customers too have learnt to enjoy the best of both worlds. Retailers that provide a seamless customer experience across mediums will be at a position of considerable advantage. Brands can’t afford to ignore the physical retail stores with regards to the in-store marketing and customer experience. Customers will look to visit the stores and the retailers better be up for it.
Retailers will need to make the extra effort
With a plethora of shopping options available to the customers, brands and retailers who go that extra mile will reap heavy rewards. Firstly, communication will be important. Whether it’s in-store marketing or online, customers should be well attended to both before and after the customer’s purchase. But most importantly, customers will expect retailers to respond to them is their times of despair. Retailers must ensure that they don’t forget about the customers once the sale is done. All customer complaints, negative reviews, and dissatisfactions must be properly addressed.
Another thing that brands & retailers should look to establish is a little bit of flexibility, especially with their return policies. What transpired in the previous year is likely to be the case this time around as well. Last year, majority of customers opted to make a purchase based on the return policy. They were not shy of backing out from a purchase if the return policy seemed inconvenient to them. Retailers should keep this in mind and ensure that the return policies are fair and convenient.
Customers will plan in advance
Another trend that will continue from last year is that customers will get on with their planning and research about what to buy earlier than expected. Retailers shouldn’t be surprised if their research is not immediately followed by a purchase.
The illustration above tells a story. In the holiday season of 2016, majority of the customers got underway with their gift research October or even earlier. But, most of the purchases were carried out as late as November. This basically means that retailers will have to ensure that they are ready with all their promotions and messaging way before November. The communication needs to start early as most customers, like last year, would want to plan and research their items of purchase in advance before eventually settling for it. The retailers that keep this in mind are likely to stay ahead of the curve this holiday season.