The holiday season is of great importance to retail. According to Magento Business Intelligence benchmarks, during holiday months, "retailers acquire between 29 and 59 percent more customers". That percentage is even greater for holiday-sensitive retail categories, like apparel and electronics.
Your website is important, but don’t forget the most direct, important touch point of your business: your brick-and-mortar stores. They can make or break your sales opportunities, especially at peak times like this. Here, we will unwrap the keys to your success in stores during the holiday season.
Ensure a seamless shopping flow
You may notice it: The line between online and offline stores is blurring. A seamless shopping flow will help your customers save time and have great experiences, especially at this busy time of the year. When customers come to your stores, make sure that:
- You have the same products you offer online at stores: don’t make them feel like they’ve wasted time going miles to do research and go to your store, then figured out that there’s no such merchandise to buy.
- You recognize your customers: your in-store systems should have information of all of your customers, even if they only shop online before. Customers hate repeating themselves when they move among channels. It’s time-consuming and tiring for them.
- You give them the ability to shop how they want: pick up in store, home delivery, send a cart to wish list for online purchase.
Your POS plays a critical role in creating a seamless shopping flow for your customers. It should support all product types you already have and will have for this holiday season. It should have synchronized databases: product, customer, order, … with your website. Unified databases make it possible for you to offer customers the same products you have online at stores, recognize them at checkout counters, allow them to use their reward points, coupon codes for payment and choose the most convenient shopping methods for them.
And it will be ideal if your POS can synchronize in REAL TIME with your online store. Any changes you make in Magento, such as special pricing for a product to promote it in limited time or stock status (out of stock or in stock), will be updated instantly in all physical stores. Your customers will get the same, exact information regardless of sales channels they use. They see the updated price when they look up your website on their phones at your stores and pay the same price when they check out at the counter. No more frustration for mismatched information.
Turn data into actions
In this era, data are the most valuable asset of your business because they help you understand your customers. Customers leave footprints during the whole shopping journeys: from contact information such as names, email addresses, phone numbers, addresses to purchase history, wish lists and the payment methods they often use. While your website houses all their online purchase information, your POS records all their in-store purchases. You can gather all the information in one place to build their profiles and map shopping journeys for different purposes. For example, in a specific marketing campaign, you will know who you should talk to and what you need to say based on their purchase history and shopping habits.
In addition, you can gain insights into the sales trends of the holiday season. Use the filters to have a brand new look at the sales reports, and keep an eye out for trends: When have you got to sell the most and the least during the holiday season? Which stores have contributed most? What may be the reasons behind that? Take note of the data that you think may give you answers, then prepare and allocate your resources to optimize the most active hours and days.
Offer targeted promotions
Customers love promotions! More precisely, they love promotions that are related to them. As we mentioned above, you should review your data, typically the one from last year’s holiday season. Note down information such as which seasonal promotions worked best for whom, which channels drove the greatest engagement. Segment your customers into target groups and send them customized promotions.
One more step, check your POS to make sure that it can support them, whether you offer coupon codes, gift cards or reward points. In case you set up catalog price rule to discount for selected items, or cart price rule to discount for a group of specific items together in Magento, those settings must be synced immediately and fully to POS. Don’t upset your customers by telling them your in-store system doesn’t accept coupon codes or not giving them the discounts they’re supposed to have when they visit your stores.
Merry Customers = Loyal Customers
This holiday season, put the customers in the center of all efforts and ensure they will have a perfectly consistent and coherent shopping journey. Analyze your data to understand them better, think of the best ways to connect and serve them. Make plans and prepare your whole system, from online to offline stores, ready to provide a truly omnichannel experience. If you do it right, this customer acquisition chance will benefit you not only during the holiday season but also all year round.