by Jake Gasaway, co-founder of Stitch Labs
Retailers are already busy prepping for the holiday season. But, before the season is in full swing, you’ll want to read about these three trends that will affect retail as consumers start shopping.
As mobile, omnichannel, and data become more prevalent in consumer decisions, retailers must stay one step ahead.
Here’s what you should know:
1. Data will take a front seat in planning for the holidays. Retailers will be relying more on data to drive sales and inventory decisions.
How retailers gather data is just as vital as the data itself. Implementing a central inventory management system that tracks cross-channel sales data is what retailers will rely on most to make smarter decisions this holiday season. During the holidays, retailers need to pay particular attention to bestselling items, and how they gather the supply of these items. These two factors will impact, and could cause overselling — which is something retailers often face during such a busy shopping season. By looking at historical sales reports, such as top-selling products or bestselling items by channel, retailers can better prepare their operations and warehousing. Retailers should also add one more safety net by setting a ‘Low Stock Threshold’ on those best selling products so ‘Out of Stock’ becomes a thing of the past.
It doesn’t stop at individual business data. Retailers should also leverage industry insights to drive business decisions. While unique business analytics is the priority, ecommerce industry data is just as important as getting a peek into the current health of the industry and where it’s headed.
This Internet Retailer sales prediction article, depicted through 2018, is a good place to start to get up-to-speed on the current upward trend. With these two types of data available, retailers have a viewfinder into future holiday sales and the ability to sell even more, because they know where they stand against the market.
2. The holiday season is the perfect way to tap into 80 million millennials who will be shopping, everywhere.
Millennials are the largest age cohort ever with over 80 million individuals in the United States. Additionally, Millennials were raised and shaped by technology, and are the most “connected” generation, never far from a smart phone, laptop, or similar device. Because of this, traditional marketing has become less and less effective with these types of shoppers. Retailers have the opportunity to turn them into loyal customers for decades to come. Millennials value brand loyalty, and their purchasing power is on the rise. As the Baby Boomers move closer to retirement, Millennials will take over their spending segment.
To capture this brand-new audience, retailers need to get creative. A few great suggestions include:
- Host a faux-Black Friday sale (see Amazon’s #PrimeDay)
- Focus on social media, leveraging Facebook and Instagram to build a network
- Retarget last year’s holiday shoppers and lure them back with a special promo code
- Host a hashtag promotion where you encourage customers to share purchases on Instagram and Twitter
3. Consumers are in search for the best prices and experiences, and they’re willing to search anywhere (offline or online) to find them.
To succeed this holiday season, retailers must be available to customers everywhere, and at all times. The trick to succeeding as an omnichannel seller is to be active on multiple sales channels, while maintaining a single brand throughout each channel. Consistency is key to increasing sales, and building a loyal customer base.
Forbes discussed the omnichannel revolution in an article from February 2015, where, “according to a survey conducted by Retail Systems Research in June 2013, around 84% of the retailers polled worldwide believed that creating a consistent customer experience across channels was very important. Moreover, multichannel shoppers have a tendency to spend more than regular shoppers as they have access to a wider product range and additional discounts.”
What does this mean for you during the holidays? Make sure your website is first and foremost, mobile friendly. Be sure to offer discounts across channels, not just through your shopping cart website, but also in your brick-and-mortar, and even email campaigns.
Jake Gasaway is co-founder of Stitch Labs. Gasaway worked in sales and management roles for CPG giants Philip Morris U.S.A. and the Campbell Soup Company for 12 years prior to co-founding Stitch Labs. During that time, he worked closely with internal data teams that helped those businesses be more successful through the analysis of business trends and data.