December and the festive season is upon us and as a merchant, you know to be ready for shoppers scrambling to buy gifts as they revel in holiday cheer.
Despite inflation, ’tis still is the season for gift-giving it seems. A KPMG study reveals that consumers have said they will buy fewer gifts and purchase more affordable gifts at budget-friendly stores.
This does not mean merely shopping online or shopping in-store. Many might think that because of Covid-19, online promotions to convert customers are the only way to go. But according to an international study by IBM, shoppers now prioritise in-store and hybrid shopping as part of their purchase journey. In addition, 1 in 3 individuals between 18-39 say mixing physical and digital channels, also known as hybrid shopping, will be their primary purchasing method this year. Therefore, it’s time for businesses to spread some Christmas cheer in-store as well as online.
Here are five ways retailers can create holiday cheer:
- Reward early shoppers
The often played out tactic merchants do in the lead-up to the festive season is to begin with minor price cuts and increase them over time in the lead-up to the festive season. This can frustrate shoppers, who have to decide whether to buy now or keep waiting for a better deal.
So instead, businesses should offer deep discounts early, to give customers a reason to buy —and focus on creating the perception of value. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales coming up, it’s the best time to slash prices on excess inventory. Create value by bundling products and sweeten the deal with something extra that you can give your customers.
Retailers who do that early will also clearly understand how effective their promotions are. In particular, it helps you forecast how much inventory you can clear at a discount level. Clearing excess stock early will generate better results and more satisfied customers.
- Theme: Festive
Retailers need to start planning holiday-centric promotions. But that does not mean only focusing on items that get consumers through the door. When shoppers shop at your brick-and-mortar store, subtly encourage them to add impulse buys to their baskets. These include immediate adjacencies—think about those lovely gift soaps near the counter as you pay for what you need at major retailers such as Bath and Bodyworks.
You can also creatively position one-step adjacencies—like Christmas-themed coffee cups beside your usual lineup of coffee beans, or place complementary basics next to winter clothing. This strategy applies online. Ensure affordable personalised recommendations appear when shoppers are ready to check out or offer gift-wrapping for free when they pay online and pick up in-store.
In short: surprise customers when they’re prepared to pay.
These smart merchandising decisions can increase shoppers’ delight as they feel like they are discovering items that weren’t originally on their lists. A fulfilling shopping experience will lead to repeat patronage, and turn a festive shopper into a loyal customer.
Lastly, make sure that you keep the holiday theme by decorating your physical store. Maintaining a lively store adds to the ambience and puts customers in a good mood while shopping at your store!
- It’s the little things that count
Even as shoppers return in-store, retailers need to know what shoppers want and adjust accordingly. For example, in an international survey, IBM finds that more than 70% of shoppers aged 25 to 55 want unique products, free cancellations, order changes and free returns. Therefore, retailers need to cater to shoppers by giving them promotions and services of value.
This might mean fighting the urge to shave dollars off the entire catalogue. Instead, provide tailored deals to the highest-value customers. Whether it’s free cancellations and returns, or a special coupon for loyal customers that are part of your business mailing list, these customised experiences are better than blanket promotions.
Of course, your business can still use blanket cuts to create a little holiday cheer for customers searching for the perfect gifts. You then could offer other promos, and services on top of your festive discounts as a value-add. Just be strategic with which items you discount and how much.
- Make in-store shopping safe, easy and convenient
As shoppers in Asia-Pacific return to in-store shopping, surveys indicate that 68% of consumers in APAC want to spend less time in shops and prefer self-serve innovations. Nearly half (47%) said they use self-checkout options, and a similar quantity (46%) opt for cashless payments. Unsurprisingly, other surveys show they also want to shop in Covid-safe environments.
If you have yet to implement contactless self-service or payment options, you need to do so now. Whether it’s QR code ordering or e-wallet solutions, smart POS technologies are now better, faster and more affordable than ever. Digitalising customers’ checkout options is no longer optional for retailers trying to keep shoppers returning. Businesses must invest sufficient resources in other aspects of their customer value proposition, such as attentive service and convenient shopping experiences (think contactless payments and in-store pickups), to turn a holiday shopping spree into long-term loyalty.
- Use empirical data over intuition.
Today’s unique economic environment means shoppers will be more cautious with their purchases. It helps you, the merchant, to make pricing and promotion decisions based on real-time data. Using detailed sales reports to inform promotions will not just affect revenue, it will also impact inventory management and delivery lead times, allowing you to keep you shelves stocked and ready.
Additionally, data is king for other aspects of the customer experience. Knowing what your customers like to order and various details will improve personalised experiences, precisely what today’s customers expect. Businesses can use data-driven scenarios to establish a streamlined decision-making process and pivot quickly and at scale, even in unpredictable economic situations.
Ready yourself for the festive season and beyond
Qashier’s smart POS solutions can help your business do all of the above, and more.
These five recommendations show businesses can still spread holiday cheer to their customers even with a gloomy economic outlook. But first, it’s time to digitalise your business operations with a smart POS solution to support your business growth.
Qashier’s smart POS presents an integrated solution to meet all kinds of business needs with multiple digital solutions, including QR code payments, employee management, customer relationship management (loyalty programs), inventory management, data analytics, cashless payments, all-in-one terminal.
Qashier promises a seamless setup within 10 minutes without needing technical expertise. In addition, it boasts a user-friendly interface that is simple for anyone to learn and use.