3 Ways to Retailers Can Conquer Christmas Shopping

13 Oct 2020

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For most online retailers, peak season has already started! Here are 3 things to prepare you for making this season a profitable one and for helping to piggyback off the busyness of the retail season and future proof you for next year. 'Cos who knows? 2021 could be another strange year!

Hi guys, I’m Alice the Director of Communications and one of the directors here at Mint. Online retail is predicted to grow this year, even though many individuals and businesses are spending conservatively - crowds at the mall are likely to be avoided by most so let’s get you ready for a busy time shipping orders. That brings me to my first point, make your order fulfilment processes as fast and as easy for yourself or your fulfilment team as possible!

I’ve worked in or part owned online stores who have a mixed bag of order fulfilment processes. Some took 2 minutes to fulfil an order, others took 30. If you’re in the space of selling hand made or high end or high ticket items and you’re doing tissue paper and hand written notes, it’s OK to be spending longer on shipping orders. But if you’re a little more mainstream and selling fast moving products or your model is more about high volumes, you wanna refine your processes as much as possible.

You probably already know what you can do to speed things up so here’s your reminder. If you don’t know where to start, I suggest that you organise your stock so that you don’t have to look for stock, you just have to pull it from a shelf. Oh and, if you’re weighing up buying a label printer, do it!

Tip #2 for the nailing peak retail season: Know that shopping and buying are two different things!

People are looking for Christmas gifts increasingly from October. But that doesn’t mean that people will start buying October. Consumers are spending a lot of time researching and preparing for their purchases. Preparing can include any activity that will help consumers to complete their shopping which could be thinking about who they need to buy for and what their budget is, discovering new brands - hopefully yours included, browsing or “window” shopping and researching. They might also do price comparison, especially those early buyers in November who have time on their side. So what does this mean for online retailers wanting to capture this preparing phase of the purchasing process? You need to be in-step with the rapidly changing consumer journey for holiday purchasing – especially this year! You should be aiming to be in front of the consumer wherever and whenever they are. For smaller brands, that means being on as many platforms that your budget allows you to do well.

Of course this will vary from store to store but generally speaking, it’s hard to go wrong on Facebook and Google Ads platforms.

For you larger brands, we suggest a cross channel approach which is driven by automation and Machine Learning. If you’re not already doing that, make sure this year is the last time you go a peak shopping season without this - or at least without seeing what is possible. One cool example is using MetService data to customise your ads based on a location, making it super relevant and closing in on new sales. So if someone is in Nelson and it’s sunny and warm, you could show them ads for things that people start thinking about when the weather warms up like kids sun hats, BBQs, air conditioning units, gardening equipment, camping and fishing gear, etc. The ads can automatically turn on and off when the weather changes. I dunno about you guys but that kind of marketing technology gets me pretty excited. Regardless of the size of your business, know that “the new normal” for an online consumer journey is non-linear and involves dozens or 100s of steps when it comes to purchasing. That’s why you might get hundreds of website visits for every 1 product sale.

This means the consumer is moving between high purchase intent and exploratory research. Therefore you need your advertising to reach someone when they are pondering what brand to buy as well as when they are ready to put those credit card details in and purchase your product. You should be aiming to involve a user on all three main steps of the purchasing journey. These being awareness, consideration and action.

Tip #3 is to turn peak retail season into a boomerang! Aim to get those customers coming back!

We know that shoppers buy from new retailers during peak retail season so let’s turn them from one-time purchasers to loyal repeat buyers. You should look to understand your customer’s purchasing behaviour for this period and beyond. Are they the kind of shopper that gets in early and organises all their gifts way ahead of time or are they who spreads their purchasing out throughout the season. Perhaps they save their buying up until the sales hit? Google Analytics audits can help you reveal some of this invaluable information that you can use to serve these customer better next year. If you want to turn your peak retail customers into regular customers, consider making them an offer for their second purchase they make from you.

A discount code will do the trick and you can track how many people took up the offer. This will help your new customers commit to your brand and make them more likely to recommend you to others and to make more repeat purchases. Hope these tips help.

Take action with what you learn and thanks for watching.