While traditionally it’s been constrained to the pre-Christmas hype and the Boxing Day Sales, now the sales season seems to be getting earlier every year. November rather than December is rapidly becoming the peak season for the retail industry, with a series of major sales event happening.
Indeed, November 2017 was a significant month for the retail industry, with the NAB online retail sales index achieving the highest growth rate since December 2014, and most categories recording double-digit YOY growth. (Source)
According to recent research, 57% of Australian consumers will participate in Black Friday this year. Together with the Chinese initiated Single Day sales weekend, Australian owned Click Frenzy, US originated Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers are going to have a very busy November. It is important to be well-prepared for the sales seasons in order to take advantage of this new peak in shopper activity.
Here are our 5 top tips for retailers to prepare for this sales season:
1. Ensure your website can host the traffic
Nothing frustrates consumers more than coming across crashed web pages when they are trying to get the deal that they want. The damage to the brand as consumers vent their anger on social media could spread wide and fast and cost you more than simply missing out on the potential sales.
Use SMS alerts to keep your technical staff and developers notified when hosting volume is getting close to the threshold or if there are pre-warning signs that the website is likely to crash, so that they can act upon it early.
2. Embrace Mobile (if you haven’t already)
Paypal’s 2017 mCommerce Index revealed that 72% of Australian consumers use mobile devices for payment – this figure rises to 87% for Australians aged under 35. Yet still only 51% of Australian businesses have a mobile optimised website. If you haven’t got around to making your website mobile-first, don’t panic just yet. Take a look at our latest SMS Landing Pages product, it might come in handy for you.
By combining the high visibility of SMS, and the feature-rich flexibility of a mobile-first web page where you can insert images, brand logos, personalised offer codes and call-to-action buttons, SMS Landing Pages are perfect for sales events where you are presenting a single message (your special deal) with a specific action (to purchase) required from your audience.
3. Go multichannel
Not only are consumers more likely to use multiple channels to engage with brands, research also indicated that multichannel consumers are more likely to convert, have higher basket value and loyalty.
So embrace the combinations of email, SMS, social media platforms and mobile apps to communicate with your customers about your special deals. Move along each channel to build the emergency of your message. For example, use social media to build anticipation, use email to announce your deals, and send an SMS at the start of the event and to count down the closing of your special deals.
4. Let automation give you a hand
Retailers this year are going to face an extra challenge as the penalty rate for casual employees increases as of 1st November. If you are looking for ways to balance the cost on casual staff but to still meet customers’ expectations on the highest level of customer services, automation may be able to give you a hand.
Whether you are an e-commerce or brick and mortar store, or both, using automated notifications is a great way to streamline both your internal and external communications. Imagine the time saved when an SMS is automatically sent to the customer or relevant staff members when a purchase is made, an order is dispatched, a cart is abandoned, a product is back in stock or a click and collect order is ready for pick up.
The automation process can be done easily with plugins like the Esendex Zapier Integration, where integrations are already made with 1000s of business applications and software. Just select what you’d like to happen (i.e. “send a message to customers when a new product is added to your Magento website inventory”) and you’ll receive a step-by-step guide which can be followed with no coding or specialist knowledge required.
5. Personalise your communications
Research from Marketo revealed that 79% of consumers said they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalised to reflect their previous interaction with the brand, yet 65% of retail marketers fail to personalise email copy.
Personalisation could be a quick win for you in this sales season. Most CRM software and communication platforms support the use of dynamic fields, which makes personalisation a much easier task.
Yet for personalisation to work, accurate customer data is the key. If you are looking for the best way to clean up your database, be sure to check out this article to find out why we think SMS Surveys offers one of the most cost effective and efficient tools for cleaning up your customer database.
If you would like to find out how our services can help you get better results from the upcoming sales season, please get in touch. And good luck!