Holiday shopping accounts for 20% of annual sales for most retail businesses. With the busy season rapidly approaching, retailers need to start making preparations to be ready for the most wonderful time of the year. The social distancing requirements affecting store capacity will give retailers more to consider while getting ready for the busy season moving forward.
Utilizing insights from smaller holiday campaign strategies helps to cultivate a holiday strategy that often ends up producing more successful results. This also helps to shape a more powerful marketing plan as the end-of-year activities approach. For most retailers, the key will be how well the retail store is prepared for a holiday season. Be it a brick-and-mortar store, an eCommerce business or both, here are 7 ways retailers can get ready for this year’s busy season.
Stock Up and Manage Inventory
When preparing for an influx of business, taking stock of your inventory helps track what is selling and what is not. Doing so also provides insight into your customer buying habits. For any retail store, the inventory serves as its backbone. If there is mismanagement of popular products you sell, your whole customer experience can suffer. Remember, supply and demand go hand in hand.
A retail merchant services tool that can help monitor the popularity of certain products is a stock alerts solution. This helps break down sales by item and sales category breaking down which funds need to be allocated towards certain retail products. The stock alerts feature assists retail businesses in seeing which products/services perform best. It is even more beneficial when it is already connected with your payments system, allowing you to set up and receive low inventory alerts before you run out of stock.
Make Your Merchandise the Shining Star
In a sea of holiday sales, making your product and brand stand out amongst the crowd is as important as providing quality merchandise. Keep your retail store top of mind for holiday shopping and influence purchasing with quality social content showcasing new touch-free ways to shop. Offering curbside pickup, online ordering, and pre-order There is a 70% chance that a previous customer will purchase your product over your competitors due to familiarity and overall customer service experience.
Consider how the in-store experience can be adjusted to implement social distancing in a less noticeable and disruptive way. Placing highly sought-after merchandise in a different, open area of the store provides easy and quick access. If you track sales from month to month, you can strategically plan your product layout and promotions to attract and direct customers. This is a great tip to use all year long but especially during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Minimize shopper frustration by making the experience easy, achievable, and fun can boost your sales and cash flow, which means you’ll get a great return on your investment.
Add an Online Shopping Cart to Your Website
More consumers are shopping online for the first time, and for products they would normally buy in-store. Creating an online shopping cart that integrates seamlessly with your current website provides your customers with a seamless shopping experience. Benefits of an online shopping cart include:
Stax lets you implement an eCommerce shopping cart to sell your products online with just one click, no configuration or technical skills needed. You can add items to the catalog, select those items, and automatically create an online shopping cart where customers can go to purchase store products instantly. There is no additional cost for this integrated eCommerce tool.
Provide Multiple Checkout Locations In-Store
The incorporation of mobile and contactless payment solutions improves the opportunity to provide an expeditious checkout experience for your customers. One way you can do this is by adding mobile payment processing capabilities to your POS system. This prepares your retail store for an influx of foot traffic and provides the flexibility required to add mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) devices allowing your business to process magstripe, EMV, and NFC payments with a tablet or smartphone.
Having mobile payment tools that can quickly support the primary checkout area is imperative for effective line-busting. Setting aside a dedicated area stocked and ready with carryout bags and additional stationery offers a seamless checkout experience to customers completing their holiday shopping.
Speed Up Checkout Time and Avoid Long Lines
An Omnico Group study has shown that shoppers will abandon a checkout line without making a purchase after just eight minutes of waiting. The study also found that 77 percent of shoppers are less likely to return to a store where they experienced long checkout lines. What does this mean? Well, besides the fact that we as consumers are very impatient, the opportunity for shop and click has made our expectations very high for quick transactions.
One way to avoid frustration for your customers and provide a seamless process for your staff is by setting up a multiple-server waiting line. With multiple servers, customers all stand in a single waiting line. When it’s their turn, they go to the first free cashier. Using heat maps to determine peak times when the store is at its busiest will help operators ensure that the retail store is properly staffed during peak times.
Make Sure Your Physical and Digital Stores Work Together
If you have or are adding an online store, it’s imperative that both the brick and mortar location and eCommerce store work seamlessly together. Begin your alignment with the 80/20 rule. Offer only your top 20% best-selling products/services on your website to start. This will allow you to work out any bugs with cross-channel marketing between the technology and inventory.
Next, you should aim to provide a unified customer experience. Make sure your marketing is aligned so whether they are in-store or shopping online, the customer is being spoken to in one consistent brand voice. Another way to make sure your physical and digital stores work together is by exploring in-store pickup. Allowing customers to pick up orders in-store gives you the chance to sell them other merchandise. While this may seem like an attractive option it’s not without its challenges. Logistics can be tough. In-store pickup works best when the bulk of your customers live close to your store—like in the same neighborhood.
Use Business Reviews to Your Advantage
Ask area and store managers for their feedback on how you could have set them up better and identify the highs and lows of their local execution. Use your customer experience feedback to understand how customers felt. Learn what worked well so you can do it again next year and identify the changes to create more profit next year. Use your lessons wisely.
Manage your business’s Google Reviews right from your Stax Dashboard. With the Online Reviews tool in Stax, you have the ability to see and respond to your Google Reviews the moment they are posted, without ever having to leave Stax. Reduce the number of platforms you are logging in to and manage everything in Stax.
How Stax Can Help Your Business Shine This Holiday Season
With COVID conspiring to minimize holiday cheer, delivering a positive customer experience may seem like a big ask this year. Don’t let that stop you. The more prepared you are, the smoother and more profitable this holiday season can be for your retail store(s).
Stax prides itself on providing retail businesses the payment solutions they need to improve their processes and continue to grow their business all year long. Want to learn more about our payment processing tools or maybe you’re interested in taking the next steps towards adding an online shopping cart to your business?
Reach out to us at Stax today. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you benefit from our modern payment solutions right away.