This Christmas will be the best time to revamp your Retail Sales and introduce Technology to prevent pure-play e-commerce firms from stealing the show. Normally, both stores and pure-play e-commerce companies start experiencing a rise in Sales from October 1st. A bit of Automation ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday would be a good start ahead of 2020.
Where All Can You Influence Customers?
As per Mc Kinsey, the customer journey is a circular one with four phases. First is when initial Product Consideration happens. This is followed by Research on potential purchases. Third comes the Closure. There is a post-purchase phase where the products and services are judged by the customers. After that, they decide on repurchases and brand loyalty. With AI-based technology, retailers can influence buyers in all these phases. Let’s see how.
Invest in AdTech Ahead of the Shopping Spree
If you are still in the billboards and TV commercials era, you would have already started losing out the business. AI-enabled software helps you reach out to the audiences in Product Consideration, the first phase of the customer journey. Replicas of your best customers can be found out with Machine Learning. Platforms like Facebook and Google have improved the way advertisers manage and optimize this targeted advertisement. After Christmas purchases have concluded, you can identify the geography of customers and scale up advertising strategy. Most AdTech tools like Taboola offer tools to measure the efficiency of campaigns.
Smartphone Experience Is the Key
In Customer’s Product Research: Surveys by a popular business website found out that the mobile experience of 44 percent of top 500 company websites in the world was not up to the mark. At least 80 percent of people have checked out products and reviews on smartphones while inside a physical store. This shows that mobile plays a key role in the second phase of customer experience.
In Purchase: For click and bricks businesses and physical retailers, the smartphone experience is more important. In the US, around 79% of customers used smartphones to purchase online in the last quarter of 2018. Around 40% of all online purchases were made over the phone and it is steadily increasing.
Use CRMs to Give Buyers Xmas Offers They Can’t Refuse
Retailers’ remainder stocks can easily be turned into a reward for their best customers. While doing so, they can beat pure-play e-commerce sites in Personalization. For this, Customer Segmentation is important. CRMs make this task easy. They can help identify the age range, gender and purchase pattern from available data. For instance, a young male who has bought a covert coat last winter can be given a Christmas offer to encourage repurchase. You can send customized emails or SMSs. CRMs that send e-mails are also important for brick and click retailers. Customers tend to become anxious about deliveries, especially when they do not come from an online-marketplace. A bit of reaffirmation by retailers drives them closer to stores and brand.
Invest in Chatbots
Last year, the UK-based Cloud Communications provider, Olive Communications interviewed consumers and customer services in retail and e-commerce. They figured out that 59% of the retailers they came across had already invested in Chatbots. Around 42% use a Virtual agent which comes on live chat with customers. October would be the right time to deploy chatbot at your store. The chatbots can save substantial cost wasted on call center operations as providing an answer to each customer is an expensive process. Each call will cost you from $2 to $4 and the calls peaks ahead of the holiday season. A chatbot can manage minor concerns, doubts and at time grievances.
When Will Xmas Sale Peak?
According to Paris-based personalized retargeting company Criteo, there are four key phases for holiday shopping. In October, shopping online and at store are almost the same. A few weeks ahead of Black Friday the in-store sales increase. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, needless to say, online sales shoot up substantially compared to online sales. In December again in-store sales go up just ahead of Christmas.
Rationalize Your Products
The seasonal spike in the purchase of certain products and is a feature of holiday shopping, as much as it is in other times of the year. Criteo says athletic gear, jewelry and travel bags sell like hotcakes in this season. To ascertain the popularity of each segment in supermarket one can deploy camera vision. The AI-based solutions can evaluate the density of purchasers and give suggestions on product display and points were staff deployment is needed.
With recession apparently hanging over retailers’ head like Damocles sword, this Christmas would be an appropriate time to leverage technology and realign your sales.