Retailer’s Checklist for Holiday Season 20197 min read

The holiday season is a goldmine for retailers. In the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year, Americans spent a whopping $850 billion. This year, the average Canadian plans to spend CA$1,593, which is 1.9% more than last year. The average Briton spends around £567 for Christmas every year.

If you are a retailer, the holiday season is the time of the year when you will be running helter-skelter to fulfill orders, boost sales, and provide better customer experience. Making a checklist to plan out this holiday season will put it on a more organized path

If your business is small or growing, it is even more critical that you plan out your holiday season in advance. We wanted to help you make the most of this holiday season, so we’ve prepared a checklist for you.

Do thorough market research

Data is always the strongest tool in your arsenal when it comes to your holiday prep. Data provides you with the ideal insights on

 1) your performance for the last couple of years

 2) where your competitors have an edge over you 

 3) why one particular product sold better than the rest

 4) why a specific promotional campaign did particularly well

Having these insights helps you identify opportunities for increased earnings and ascertain why certain strategies didn’t work as they were supposed to.

With awareness in hand, be open to repeating the strategies that did serve you well in the past.

In case you’re planning to launch a new product for the holiday season, data can also help you in 

  • identifying the current trends in the market and
  • analyzing customer pain-points.

Prioritize seasonal merchandising

Store decorated for holiday

Launching holiday-season-specific products is a great way to make your brand stand out.  A product like Starbucks’ Halloween Pumpkin Spice Latte is a great example of this. Even having holiday-themed packaging can serve to boost brand recognition and sales. 

Seasonal Merchandising

Timing is very important when it comes to launching seasonal products. The launch must neither be too early nor too late. Start too early, and you might go unnoticed. Start too late, and you will miss the season bus. 

Provide an omnichannel experience

Today’s customers demand a seamless shopping experience, be it in your brick-and-mortar store, on your website, or on a mobile application. 

Out of the $850 billion that was spent last holiday season in the US, over $126 billion was via online shopping.

Even if physical stores provide most of your sales, having an active online presence will provide you a great multi-channel selling opportunity. 

Going digital doesn’t imply ignoring your brick-and-mortar business. Take the effort to ensure your customers receive the same information about your business across all platforms.

Make sure to test your website for errors and keep it visually appealing. You don’t want to send your website’s visitor back in disappointment and frustration. In order to make your customer experience seamless, optimize your website in such a way that the customer reaches the checkout page in less than 3 clicks. 

If you have a holiday-themed landing page, make sure your holiday email campaigns direct your customers to it. Your landing page can have a design element such as a clock running out of time to create a sense of urgency. 

Use giveaways to bring in customers

Not just Christmas but the entire holiday season is a season of giving. Giveaways are easily one of the best ways to boost sales and keep your customers excited about your brand!

The more you keep your visitors engaged, the more chances you have in converting them into paying customers.

Running a series of offers for an extended period is not a great idea as this might make your customers indifferent to them. The timing and the kind of offers that you wish to provide must be special and reap you serious rewards.

Some of the essential giveaways and contest ideas come in the form of free shipping beyond a certain amount, rewarding your best customer(s), sweepstakes, and share a photo, refer a friend, and hashtag contests, etc. on social media. 

So it makes sense to have a few tricks up your sleeve for last-minute shoppers.

One effective measure to take is to invest in same-day and next-day shipping to keep your orders flowing in, especially when holiday deadlines are nearing.

Hyper personalize your message

Compared to the running of simple campaigns, ads run based on any form of targeting tend to be more fruitful and have a higher click-through rate.

If you’re a retailer dealing in thermostats, “Hey New York, feel an in-built warm hug when it hits 0 degrees on Christmas Day” would run better than a “Stay warm with our thermostats” as the former gives targeted information for a specific region.

Compared to geo-targeted ads like the one mentioned above, retargeting is more personalized and has a better chance of resolving customer pain-points.

Retargeting allows you run ads for an individual who has left your site without completing a purchase. This is how it works: A person browsing your website leaves without completing a purchase. Your business’ ads convincing them to complete their purchase are displayed as they browse other sites online, thereby ensuring personalized relevance.

Retargeting works best when you segment your visitors and reach out to them with a clear call-to-action that promotes an offer.

Retargeted ads help your visitors recognize your brand and bring “window shoppers” back.

These days, technology puts your business even ahead of what you can imagine. It is now possible to embed the link of a customer’s abandoned cart in your mailer and add to it exciting offers to win them back. You can also use this to cross-promote similar products.

Reminding customers of their abandoned carts is a great way to reach out to them and make them feel valued.

Use technology to make shipping and delivery stress-free

Let’s say you’ve sent your all your orders out for delivery, and you feel relieved. Hold on to your horses though! Your biggest worries are yet to come.

Setting aside damaged or lost packages, even a small delivery delay by a couple of hours could make your customer go bat-crap-crazy and vent  their frustrations on social media. 

For more than 35% of customers, delivery delays are the biggest source of holiday stress. We can’t blame them. Their concern is well-founded. Going by our report for the 2018 State of Holiday Shipping in the U.S, around 8% of packages will be delayed in 2019.

You can relieve some of your customers’ shipping worries, reduce complaints, and avoid excessive inquiries by informing them in advance about expected delays by using LateShipment.com’s delivery management platform.

You can also provide your customers access to a branded tracking page where they can get access to real-time shipment status directly from you, the retailer, rather than from your shipping carrier. 

Checklist for holiday season infographic

Conclusion

Everyday counts as we race toward the holiday season.  Get started today, so you can achieve your most successful and profitable holiday season yet!

At LateShipment.com, our focus has remained steadfastly on the last mile, typically the part of the logistics chain that is the most opaque. Since our inception, our state-of-the-art algorithms have tracked over 100 million parcels.

Here are some of the high-impact capabilities we offer you:

  • Enhanced real-time dashboard – Have your finger on the pulse of your shipments and get a 360° view of shipments in-transit
  • Pre-built dashboard for Customer Support reps – See real-time alerts on predicted delays, promptly intervene and proactively fix them before customer impact
  • Stay connected with customers in the last mile – Build credibility and loyalty with proactive issue resolution emails and automated delivery status notifications
  • Create branded tracking pages – Craft a brand-consistent post-purchase experience with custom order tracking pages to increase brand recall
  • Save up to 20% on shipping costs – Automatically claim refunds from 20+ global carriers for over 50 service failures & billing errors like late shipments, wrongly applied surcharges and more.

The value we add to businesses is most evident when experienced first-hand. Learn more about our solution here.