Whilst the weather forecast for the August bank holiday may still be uncertain, one thing is certain – the retail revenue potential of the August bank holiday. But is every retailer making the most of this extended peak shopping period?
Whatever the weather, our bank holiday weekends draw people of all ages, demographics and interests into the retail bonanza of flash sales, dazzling Christmas offers and summer clearance bargains simply too good to miss.
Well, when you’re not dashing outside to frantically light the barbecue whenever the rain eases, the great British summer sale sits waiting for you on your mobile, online or at the shops you love to visit. In fact, most of us just love to rummage the sales to discover that bargain beauty we’ve been searching for.
And it’s not just about the great British summer sale, the August bank holiday kicks off the Christmas countdown for retailers. For most retailers, this is the make or break financial quarter.
But are most of us doing enough to cash in on this all-important retail period for both short and long term revenue gain?
The August bank holiday is a unique season for retail marking the end of summer and the start of the Christmas count down. Whilst we might feel a despondent the summer is drawing to a close, tempting bargains open our purse strings and the excitement of Christmas begins to lure us into the festive buying spirit, creating two very powerful incentives to spend.
A study from eBay, indicates that over the bank holiday weekend last August, searches for Christmas-related items increased significantly, spiking by up to 57%.
The publisher has revealed that over the course of the (rather stormy) bank holiday weekend last year (between Friday and bank holiday Monday) searches for “Christmas” on eBay.co.uk shot up by 57%, as shoppers turned their attention to the weekend that traditionally marks the end of summer.
Searches for “Christmas stocking” and “Christmas jumper” also rose by 50% and 39%, respectively, over the same period, suggesting consumers were actively preparing for Christmas four months ahead of time.
As we approach the August bank holiday weekend this year, retailers of all sizes should be thinking and working to understand the complex extended peak shopping period, and seize the chance to engage early with customers who are thinking about Christmas early and to analyse data for better inventory management and pricing strategies to maximise gross profit for the following year.
Retailers are used to planning Christmas strategies early on in the year, but it’s important to understand that it’s not just the retail industry that’s looking so far ahead; our data shows that consumers also start thinking about the festive season in summer.
According to eBay’s report, the Clothes, Shoes & Accessories category boasted the longest window of influence, likely to be driven by early shopping for festive and party outfits. Spending in the Toys & Games and Baby categories, on the other hand, is weighted towards the early part of peak season, suggesting that shoppers prioritise buying presents for their children before focusing on the remainder of their friends and family.
10 things retailers need to do now:
Customer Data Acquisition. With great sale bargains and Christmas previews comes great footfall so don’t miss the opportunity to build up your lucrative customer database.
Launch an exclusive VIP loyalty Club. Why not incorporate exclusive Christmas events and festive discounts for members to boost your sales figures, win market share and encourage strong customer rapport? Don’t forget to promote this at your point of sale!
Introduce digital receipts to enable not only easy refunds and exchanges on but importantly acquire email addresses for on-going customer engagements.
Introduce in store mobile technology to create a digital aisles for extended product choice and search of items in other locations.
If you decide to incorporate the online buying experience of in store digital aisles, why not introduce pay and deliver so your customers can receive their goods at home and enjoy the experience of shopping without carrying the bags!
Run Facebook competitions using a low cost or free app, such as www.woobox.com, which will allow you to collect entrant’s details. Why not even test Facebook as a sales channel to support your omni-channel retail strategy?
Flexible data collection will allow you to decide which fields you want e.g. First Name, Last Name, Email, Address and Phone Number and allow you to create more fields.
Try not to duplicate customer data. A Cloud EPoS system helps prevent duplicates as there is a single database, essentially one version of the truth.
Plan Your Summer Sale Campaign. Set a diary task to spend a half or full day to review last year’s marketing efforts and how they affected sales. Plan the day away from the store so you don’t get distracted.
Decide what worked well and what did not. You can do this by monitoring clicks on marketing emails and using your EPoS and ecommerce system to monitor sales spikes online and in store. It’s also worth checking what posts worked well on social media.
Cloud Retail Software: The Enabler to Disruption and Survival
Fashion retail is at the height of disruption and with Amazon’s recent announcement, the game of disruption is about to get even more challenging…. enter Amazon Prime Wardrobe.
The magnitude of this disruption is unprecedented; fashion retail is among a wide array of sectors fighting the onslaught. In fact, the retail store of the past may well be dead, as evidenced by the ongoing trend of thousands of shop closures over the last decades — capped by several new rapid-fire rounds of closure announcements in early 2017 and a number of big brands this year seeing potential dark days.
What will disrupters such as Amazon do next as they go about their remit of changing the shape of consumer behaviour and winning the new, impatient, tech savvy and ultra-convenience shopper these disrupters have created?
Be it Amazon, Netflix, or Uber, they’ve done so by finding the ideal combination of convenience, price, speed and variety that best appeals to consumers. With an on-going strategy to continually expand service offerings well beyond their original value propositions, we can expect to see more and more change.
The results speak for themselves: Uber chalked up its first billion global rides in a six-year time span; its second billion rides took a scant six months.
Netflix killed off Blockbuster and is now streaming 125 million hours of content worldwide each day, some of it original.
Behind every one of these disrupting forces is a strategic Cloud technology foundation designed to give them the not only true scalability and agility but critically the power to enable real-time, ubiquitous, visibility of data at any operational or consumer touch point.
It is their advantage point and one progressive retailers determined to survive have or are in the process of migrating to, enabling the ultimate omni-experience and agility to introduce new heightened services and adapt to consumer change.
Cloud EPoS and Retail Software Foundation
Despite the dark threat of these online super powers, the concept of shopping will never change but the way we shop will. While the store of the past may be dead, retailers are already adapting to a new retail environment that is a hybrid blend of the digital and physical worlds merged into additional social and sensory experiences, underpinned by an intelligent and holistic Cloud EPoS and retail system foundation.
In an online fuelled consumer world, retailers are having to rethink ways of creating combined and converged experiences to create compelling shopping journeys to combat the online super powers such as Amazon.
In this retail landscape of the future — a combination of physical, digital, and complementary service offerings — shops tailored by location and demographics become part of the consumer’s broader shopping experience.
The Physidigital Shopping Experience
And experience is the key word here. The physical fashion retail store must have a reason for the consumer to leave the comfort of their home to shop — an experience within its four walls that not only competes with the convenience and ease of online shopping but also offers other options consumers might choose to spend their time on, such as movies, sporting events or dining out.
Traditionally a pure play ecommerce fashion retailer, Missguided knows all too well the power of this physical experience and brand power, reflected into their massive in store investments on introduction of offline marketing. Offering dramatic in-store designs, vibrant environments to reflect its online brand and partnership with powered by Doddle with the aim of offering every aspect of convenience within its omni-channel experience.
Time is running out for the bricks and mortar fashion retailers to become part of this disruption and not be destroyed by it.
Fashion retailers small and large must ensure they have the very best technology and Cloud EPoS and retail software platform fit for purpose to deliver to new consumer demands.
Every fashion retailer should be considering:
- Loyalty – to keep buyers coming back across every channel
- Fulfilment – processes for cost, delivery and convenience optimisation
- Assortment – the right mix of in-store offerings physically and digitally
- Platform – effortless, cross channel real time interaction
- Innovation – continued and scalable shopping experience development
- Diversification –hospitality, entertainment and leisure retail experiences
What can you do that Amazon can’t?
By addressing and challenging the new reality fashion retailers only need to look at Dixons Carphone Warehouse and how it is transforming itself by asking itself “How can we end up making Amazon redundant?” resulting in rationalisation and a 3 in 1 store approach, exceeding in customer services Amazon cannot deliver, expanding same-day services, optimising delivery and bolstering its multi-channel retail offer.
Change is the only constant it’s just the pace of change in retail that is rattling the industry.
The next three years will defiantly be a time for survival of the fittest. Amazon will not destroy fashion retail, it’s simply just driving the delivery of the consumer’s need for speed, convenience and choice. It is the catalyst not the cause.