By Adam Dougall Since we aren’t having any kind of summer to speak of, and therefore aren’t spending hours on end soaking up the sunshine in beer gardens or at BBQs, I guess we have no real excuses not to start planning for Christmas and the opportunities it holds!
I know it seems a little drastic to start thinking about the winter season before we have had a ray of sunshine yet, however, those that do, will reap the benefits whilst everyone else will be left sweating it out in the golden trading window
The other day, myself and some colleagues from the eCircle Key Account and Professional Services teams were invited up to a client agency day by one of our key clients, to start thinking about how we can make Q3/Q4 work hard for them and generate the growth in gross demand that their board of directors are expecting.
It was refreshing – to start planning early for success as opposed to waiting for the inevitable Christmas rush, where everyone is at panic stations trying to claw revenue with short term reactive tactics.
So what do we need to think about to make sure we get the most out of Christmas?
Is it product range? Strength of proposition? Convenience? Price? Make sure that key business drivers and sales messages are consistent through all customer communications. Are you price matching? Is your offering stronger than your competition’s? Is the shopping experience nice and easy and pain free? Super important messages to drive your customers to buy with you.
(2) Have you studied last year’s performance?
What does last year’s customer analysis tell you about where the opportunities are to drive gross demand this year? Were there any surprises at a category level? Are the trading teams informed on which categories were most successful online Vs. offline? Where are the sales going to come from based on what we have learned from previous years.
(3) Are you maximising the opportunity to talk to customers as they shop?
Shopping behaviour changes dramatically at Christmas. A shopper’s profile changes significantly in terms of what they are looking at or browsing, what they are buying, how much they are spending and how frequently they are visiting the online shop. Do you have the tools and integrations in place that allow you to drive one 2 one communications with these guys to make sure you don’t lose the sale? Shoppers will go to many sites to find the best deals.
(4) Are you promising value and good service?
Customers want the shopping experience to be as painless as possible. Why should they shop with you? Is your delivery free of charge? Is your returns policy nice and simple? Can you reserve online to collect in store?
To be fair, these aren’t considerations that should only be made at Christmas and these tactics/processes can extend long into future and continue to drive sales, however, competition for consumers ££s is so excessive in these months, that if you aren’t planning now, your competition will be reaping the benefit of your neglect whilst sipping Champagne on Christmas morning knowing they have hit their targets.
Adam Dougall has been at eCircle for almost 6 years. Following roles in Business Development and Account Management Adam now oversees a team of Key Account Managers delivering strategic services, resource planning and project delivery to some of eCircle’s largest clients. Adam graduated from Plymouth University in 1998 with an honor’s degree in Political Science and is an accomplished player of air guitar.