7 Steps to Prepare for Peak Christmas Retail
The run-up to Christmas is a key period for many brands. That period in the final few months of the year represents a huge opportunity for retailers on the high street as well as online to increase annual sales, evaluate quality of service, retain and attract new customers.
Peak retail which is based on several key shopping holidays, culminating with Christmas, has traditionally been at the heart of heightened sales activity in November and December and it is still one of the single most important periods that retailers must prepare for.
HOW TO APPROACH YOUR CHRISTMAS RETAIL PLANNING
We have outlined seven areas of Christmas peak planning that may help you to maximize these major months on the calendar without compromising your customer’s good will.
1. START YOUR CHRISTMAS CAMPAIGN EARLY
Get a head start on your competition. Ideally you should start planning your Christmas preparations in the summer months to give yourself plenty of time to identify your targets, potential areas in need of improvement and determine what discounts and deals you will present in order to keep existing customers and attract new ones. A review of your website and contact centers’ capabilities is a must do here.
2. ANALYZE YOUR DATA
When preparing for Christmas, it is crucial to review last year’s figures in great detail. This will give you a guide on what to expect in terms of volumes, both sales and customer interactions; what sells well and what doesn’t. It will also give you insights on things such as when you experienced the most activity, how much bandwidth you’ll need at certain times and much more.
You could also turn to your competitors’ actions for a hint. Try and find out what is working for them and what you can do to set your business apart.
Finally, review data relating to business operations, customer feedback and website behavior to pinpoint areas in need of a new approach or areas that just might need a bit more attention.
3. STOCK ENOUGH INVENTORY
If your inventory isn’t prepared properly and you have a shortage on popular items, or if they are out of stock in a hurry, then you risk losing prospective and existing customers to those competitors who are better prepared.
Looking at your sales numbers from last year and in the months leading up to the holiday season should help you gauge how much stock you require. Don’t be afraid to add a little extra in case sales continue to rise. Finally, stay in regular contact with your suppliers (and even arrange a back-up) to prevent shortages.
4. TEST YOUR WEBSITE
Online retail still wins in peak season. For some retailers, online records are getting better every year, showing once again the need to be well prepared to meet the demand for communication. A key component for companies entering the Christmas retail rush is the capabilities of their website and the amount of call volume their contact centers can handle. Don’t leave this to chance. Global online transactions in November and December 2018 were 80% higher compared to the previous year’s average. It is crucial you handle this rise in volume without slowing down or, in the worst-case scenario, not being able to deliver for your customers.
5. REVIEW YOUR HOLIDAY SEASON STAFF STRATEGY
Most high-street retailers in the UK will take on significant numbers of temporary staff over the final months of the year. This is something that online retailers need to consider as well. Whether it’s for customer support, marketing or deliveries, they are going to need a helping hand to reign in the volume.
6. CONFIRM YOUR CHRISTMAS DELIVERY SERVICE
Christmas is crazy for deliveries. The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for delivery companies as well. According to the UK’s Online Retail Association, retailers have dispatched over 330 million orders in November and December 2018. Ensuring your service runs as smoothly as always this time of the year can be a challenge. That means retailers have to make sure they stay in touch with their customers. That is why it’s crucial to work with an international partner with plenty of experience managing this hectic period.
Plus, being able to get in touch makes the experience familiar and secure for consumers.
Finally, even if your current partner seems capable and experienced, you may still require additional support handling an influx of Christmas callers. If this is a potential scenario, arrange a contingent provider early to build a good working relationship and be sure they will give you a hand during the most turbulent moments.
7. WHY STOP AT CHRISTMAS
The final step of getting ready for peak season is one retailers shouldn’t ignore – don’t make 25th of December your end goal. While it might be tempting to catch your breath and ease your way into the New Year, it is actually the days after Christmas when December sales reach their peak.
DELIVER A MERRY CHRISTMAS WITH 60K
We hope that these seven steps will help you approach Christmas retail planning with more confidence.
If you think your order customer service options might be of concern when preparing for Christmas, 60K can offer an innovative choice of personal, experienced and reliable services to help you reach your customers wherever they are. Our experience and reliability ensures every corner is covered, even during the peak shopping period of the year.
Whether you are looking for a dependable long-term partner or a contingent provider to support your Christmas operations, get in touch and talk to our team today.