Seasons come and go. And with them, they bring a new promotion for retail marketers to focus on. The challenges that come with holidays such as Halloween, Black Friday, Christmas and New Year are intense, and adequate preparation can’t be overstated.
Despite these periods being some of the most chaotic times of the year, they are also the ones filled with the most opportunity. If teams are able to harness the best of the physical and digital world in the following ways, and keep their cool during what seems like a never-ending cycle of production, success will be on the horizon.
By taking the time to consider your next steps, you can lay a strong foundation for success and give your teams the preparation they need to succeed.
Prepare your marketing and influencer strategies
Seeding contact with influencers early on is key to building relationships, but remember to have a backup plan. During the time between this initial contact and peak period, a lot could happen. For instance, if your chosen influencer(s) get themselves into hot water with the press, you’re going to want to find a replacement pronto.
Basing your marketing strategy around your creatives is a no-brainer, but ensuring this creative lands well with your audience will be where the challenge lies. Getting your agency to conduct focus groups on your messaging and how well it lands in the current climate could prove invaluable. As with influencer strategies, be conscious of any factors that could change between this initial creative sign-off and go-live and always be prepared for the unexpected.
Book in customer support training
As shopping activity spikes, so will your customer service contact. Automated messenger bots can help to delay human contact and gather information for when a shopper is put through, but it can also cause frustration.
Whether it’s improving your AI messenger strategy or giving group training to your support team, they are going to face almost every type of problem over the peak period and they need to be prepared for every scenario.
Remember to set parameters with what customer service leads can authorise too, if a 10% discount is going to soothe an angry customer, you should assess which de-escalation strategies are worth the investment.
Incentivise loyal customers
While loyal customers might seem like the least likely group you need to encourage to spend, you need to ensure another brand doesn’t distract them with an offering shinier and more appealing than your own. Reward them for their loyalty, whether that’s through a discount code, increased loyalty card points or early access to sales.
Develop cart abandonment strategies
The bane of any e-commerce marketer’s existence. While there are several creative ways to keep shoppers progressing their purchases, the best piece of advice is simply to reduce the number of clicks it takes to get them through the checkout.
Define warm lead strategies
While abandoned carts are a sad sight for sales, they provide a second opportunity to engage with the customer on a truly individual and personalised level. Email marketing reminding them of their abandoned items can help give them a nudge, but it won’t always be enough to convert them.
Ensure you take extra care with your email marketing to entice these individuals back to your website.
Establish re-engagement strategies
Have avid shoppers fallen off the radar? Promote your flash sales in advance of the peak period and bring them back to your website to remind you of why they fell in love with your brand in the first place. Those who have a positive experience are more likely to keep you in mind when the next promotion season comes around.
Likewise, make sure they’re familiar with any new updates, such as new collections, website features, payment types and delivery options.
Finalise offers and promotions
Peak season will be a time of agility, so completing as much testing as possible prior to the season hitting will help give you a solid foundation for your offers and promotions. It’s much harder to replicate past successful strategies now that the economic landscape has changed so significantly, so keep this in mind.
During peak season
With the groundwork laid, it’s now time to execute your strategy. Stay vigilant, monitor real-time trends and be ready to adapt to changing circumstances at the drop of a hat in order to increase your odds of success.
Keep one eye on competitors
If it’s not someone’s job to check your key competitors’ social and website feeds every day, it needs to be now. While we’re not suggesting you copy anything they’re attempting, you may be able to piggyback off a bad experience a customer has had, generate counter-promotions or discounts, or adapt your social media strategy.
Use design templates to stay reactive
Brand Activation Management tools such as BAM by Papirfly™ are trusted by retail marketers across the world to create, edit and share digital, social, video, email and print materials in a matter of minutes. Infinite on-brand creations, delivered by your in-house team, no design skills needed.
Use empathy mapping with customer service reps
Some of your best marketing insights will come directly from your customers. Introduce a logging system where representatives can provide interesting points directly to marketing and sales teams.
Stay on top of topical trends
Twitter and Tiktok are going to be a goldmine for content, so make sure one of your social execs is all over it. Ensure you have the breathing space to accommodate ad-hoc projects from them too, otherwise their energy and recommendations will be futile.
Use influencer discount codes to monitor the effectiveness
Trending sales or local factors could influence location-specific marketing. They may have on-the-ground insights that aren’t freely available at the head office level.
Maximise conversion rates
Your website will be the go-to ‘storefront’ for many customers, so it’s important those abandoned baskets are kept at a minimum by making the buying process as easy as possible.
Offer digital receipts to customers
A basic but powerful move. If you can get your in-store customers to take a digital receipt, you can ask them if they would be willing to receive marketing offers and promotions from you. It’s a helpful gesture for them and a beneficial first-party data collection strategy for you.
As sales activity calms a little, it’s important to use the momentum of the promotional seasons as an opportunity to create long-term brand loyalty.
Offer additional points for purchases during the quieter period
Shoppers who signed up for loyalty and points schemes over peak periods may have less desire to spend once the season is over. Encourage purchases post-peak by offering double or triple points on sales during a specific timeframe.
Follow-up with customer experience surveys incentivised by a prize draw
This will be one of your key testing factors for how the peak period went from a customer perspective. When sending out the survey, be sure to communicate how many questions there are, how long it will take and the prize that’s up for grabs.
POS replacement and digital updates
Physical and digital points of sale in stores should be ready to go long before the season is over, however, this isn’t always realistic and sometimes logistics can get in the way.
Having BAM by Papirfly™ in place will help your teams get signage printed quickly without the need for head office to physically send anything out. Digital signage can be created and distributed to digital screens all from within the portal.
It’s never too early to plan for next year’s peak period…
Get ahead of the chaos and take ownership of your retail marketing strategy. Discover a single tool that can do it all.
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