5 tips for supercharging your sub-season sales
Spring, summer, autumn and winter are so last year. From Christmas to Halloween and Valentine’s Day, sub-seasons are the blink-and-you’ll-miss-them retail periods that can provide a welcome lift to your sales and profits.
Every retailer is looking for a differentiator to stand out from the crowd. Sub-seasons often rely on discounted promotions, but what if you could offer discounts and the convenience of quick delivery and multiple ways of buying? The goal is to make every purchase frictionless.
1. Make it personal
Customers love useful customer service. Imagine the scene: a customer is looking for a Valentine’s gift for his wife. He’s unsure what to buy, but the store associate pulls up his details and reminds him what he bought the previous three years. The associate can also make suggestions for this year’s gift. There is no one-size fits all model for personalisation, but the key to achieving the right model is a recognition of just what the customer wants and, perhaps, an awareness of how bad in-store experiences to date have affected customer attitudes.
2. Sprint ahead with speed
For some customers, even next-day delivery is too slow: 50% of online shoppers say they’ve abandoned a purchase due to unsatisfactory delivery options, making responsiveness a major competitive advantage. When back-to-school season hits and school uniforms are in greatest demand, you need to find inventory from your wider network – and find it quickly. Multichannel agility is the key to speed and success.
3. Scale, scale, scale
Whether you operate purely online or across both bricks and pixels, your customers are exploring new selling and delivery methods every season, from social commerce to same day delivery. Standing in your way of supporting these new methods are lengthy time frames needed to update each selling and delivery system you operate. What’s needed is a system that reduces this lead-time by centralising business rules and system processes, keeping your selling and delivery systems in sync and nimble enough to meet customer demand.
4. Empower your people
For every retailer, sub-seasons are a golden opportunity to increase revenues and transform customer experience. But to give customers what they want, when they want it, you’ll need to adjust your customer service approach to meet the demands of the fast-paced multichannel world. Doing this increases the number of multichannel order exceptions, and as your contact centre agents are the frontline support for these enquiries, they need to be fast, informed and helpful. They need immediate access to enterprise data, such as customer transactions, product availability, and order fulfilment status, in order to operate efficiently and effectively.
5. Focus on what matters
It’s important to embrace every sub-season and maximise the value of each. To do that, you need to focus on what’s important: product merchandising, customer service, and profitability. Complexity shouldn’t get in the way of maximising the number of customers you can serve.
From the ‘fitness’ season that hits in January to Hayfever season in late Spring, sub-seasons provide the perfect excuse for retailers to jump ahead and give customers what they really want. So what are you waiting for?
Craig Sears-Black is Managing Director of Manhattan Associates in the UK, responsible for all aspects of UK operations. He joined the company at the start of 2011 and has combined an expert knowledge of IT and Supply Chain to lead a phase of significant growth for the company.
Craig’s business leadership developed during a decade with...