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How to prepare for the summer shopping influx

27th Apr 2017
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As the weather begins to warm, many retailers are busy promoting new summer lines and offers, but how many have planned and strategised for the inevitable uplift in footfall that the summer months will bring?

Here, Steve Richardson UK & MEA Regional and International Accounts Director at ShopperTrak, provides five key ways retailers can make the most of increased shopper visits and how this uplift in visits can be encouraged:

Start early

It’s understandable that many retailers are tempted to breathe a sigh of relief following the string of spring bank holiday weekends, but it could be damaging for businesses to rest on their laurels with summer just around the corner. Marketing momentum needs to continue with a shift of attention towards drumming up consumer excitement for summer shopping and any holiday purchases they may be looking to buy.

Issuing pre-season teasers or promotions will help to create a hype for the upcoming themes, products or offers, encouraging shoppers to visit during the summer break. By analysing email opens or promotional success from these campaigns, retailers can gauge levels of interest in the content, helping them to better predict traffic levels or product demand in the preceding months.

In addition, offering exclusive sneak previews of trends or seasonal products to loyal customers is a great way to encourage sign-ups to newsletters or downloads to the brand’s app. These new sign-ups can then be added to mailing lists and receive direct correspondence, and their engagement behaviour can help to inform marketing decisions going forward as a result.

Weather report

Last year was a prime example of how weather can negatively affect retailers, so it’s imperative that mistakes aren’t repeated this time around. Although retailers cannot gain control over the weather, they can certainly prepare for it.

For example, during the prediction of an incoming heatwave retailers can look to embrace the change in weather and seek ways to make shoppers’ day comfortable and experiences enjoyable.

One way to achieve this is by perhaps offering a cool refreshment to encourage footfall in-store – and for shoppers to stay in-store – rather than walking past the shop front in search for shade elsewhere.

Even if the weather isn’t predicted to deviate vastly from the average summer’s day, retailers should keep an eye on weather reports and adjust promotions accordingly. This is a great way to not only maintain steady inbound traffic, but can also be an effective way to get rid of old or unwanted stock. To this point, should the weather be predicted to be unusually cold for the weekend, retailers with agile warehouse capabilities can look to push flash sale campaigns on unsold winter or spring clothing.

Join in the fun

Summer is typically the time of year that consumers arrange in the most socialising, whether that is days out shopping, attending festivals or holidays abroad, all eventualities present retailers with an opportunity for greater conversions.

It is important to bear these events in mind and align them with peaks and troughs in footfall to design campaigns that could spark interest from customers or inspire purchasing.

Target practice

There’s little point, however, in directing marketing budget to a group of people that are not interested in outgoing content. This demonstrates the importance for retailers to not only have a clear target group in mind, but to also understand their existing customers’ wants and needs.

Informative analytics

Perhaps one of the important strategies when looking to implement a successful strategy to optimise summer traffic is to learn from past experiences. By analysing in-store analytics to better understand the behaviour of customers during the same period the previous year, retailers can look to adjust store layouts, window displays, marketing offers or even stock on the shop floor accordingly.

All in all, retailers can’t afford to rest on their laurels just yet, in fact this should be precisely the time that they kit up and prepare for peak traffic ahead. By focussing on the above five areas where they can optimise retail performance during the summer months, no one can lay blame of the weather for poor sales turnouts. 

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