6 ways retailers can maximise profit during the holiday trading season

Road rage in carparks and despair over long queues are just some of the things we don’t look forward to during the holidays. But, the fact remains that the end-of-year shopping season is the busiest time in retailers’ calendars.

How prepared you are for the rush will have a significant impact on your annual turnover. In this article, we share with you 6 ways retailers can get the most out of this make-or-break time of year.

1. A new year, a new approach

Deanna Moylan is the Global Director of Product of T2. From opening its first store in Fitzroy in 1996, T2 now has stores in the UK, USA and Singapore. Based on her experience, Deanna says, “One of the biggest pitfalls for retailers is thinking that last year will be good enough to drive this year’s results.” She calls it a “looking-back mentality”. Although it might be comforting, you can never trust that sales and customer behaviour will be the same year after year.

2. Consider merging your online and offline worlds

According to Forrester Research, web-influenced sales accounted for 38% of all retail sales in 2016. To make the most of this omnichannel behaviour (that is, a customer’s interaction with your products both online and offline), ensure you showcase images of your goods on your website or via social media, then create ways customers can pick up what they want more quickly and easily.

On the flipside, think about customers’ expectations re flexible returns, shipping and delivery. What can you do in-store to match the online shopping experience? What if the recipient doesn’t like the gift? Can they exchange it? What if the gift is cumbersome to carry? Can you offer a pick up service or a drop-off to their car or home address?

3. Empower your team

Like T2, Australian cosmetics brand Jurlique International knows the power of in-store teams. Ann Donohue, General Manager Australia and New Zealand, says, “At Christmas, every operational element becomes a challenge. An underprepared team is probably the biggest hurdle.” So as much as it’s important to plan, don’t forget to train, train, train – particularly seasonal staff that may take longer to learn the ropes.

Ann continues, “If team members are confident in their plan, they can enjoy the time along with their customers. If they feel equipped and empowered, any issue is dealt with quickly and confidently. A happy team equals happy customers.”

4. Stay true to your brand DNA

Ann also states, “It’s very easy for brands to get lost in the chaos of Christmas. They get carried away with the tactical and promotional element. One of our strategies is to stay true to our brand DNA; we ensure that when consumers purchase a Christmas gift from Jurlique, it’s Jurlique first, Christmas second.” For example, this holiday season, Ann will be bringing attention to how Jurlique products connect people with nature as soon as they walk through the doors: “We will be encouraging customers to take a moment for themselves and enjoy a cool spritz of Rosewater Balancing Mist, whilst we tailor skin care rituals for their loved ones.”

5. Look after yourself

There’s no question about it – holiday trading is hectic. To bring your best to work each day, make sure you consider work-life balance. This means reaching out to friends and family to provide additional help at home with cooking, cleaning or the kids. Or, you could treat yourself to a holiday just before and/or after the holiday trading season to stay fresh. After all, you want to have lively, positive interactions with customers as well as be a good role model and inspire your sales teams to be their very best.

6. Start planning again in January

Once  Christmas is over it is pays to start planning again for next year. Of course it makes sense to plan early. But how early? Deanna says, “Plan straight after Christmas for the next Christmas. Take the lessons you’ve learned, and look forward to where the market will go next year.” That’s right. Early planning is more than just carefully reviewing stock levels and ordering products you need accordingly.

Deanna believes it’s really crucial to have confidence and discipline in your plan, as well as monitor it weekly: “That’s how you execute beautifully, and deliver an experience that’s different to other retailers.” Effective planning enables you to ramp up and roll out impactful marketing strategies. As Deanna says, “Invest in activities like customer events, masterclasses and competitions.” You can’t do these things if you leave planning too late.

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