Mary G. Stokes
Post-Holiday "Hangover": How Retailers Should Tailor Businesses to the New Consumer Behavior
Updated: Jan 19
The holiday season is always a rush hour for all merchants striving to grow their revenue and see an increase in goods turnover. Meanwhile, Deloitte warns that the 2022 holiday season will bring just a little 4-6% uplift in sales. The last fall-winter period wasn't fruitful either because of a global cargo crisis and the collapse of almost all supply chain operations. Most buyers left online and brick-and-mortar stores without gifts in their hands. The discounts were also unpleasant. Following Bloomberg, the average discount during Black Friday was only 24%. It's not so generous, ha?
Meanwhile, the supply chain's difficulties are no longer a problem, so what will make customers buy less than usual? Inflation - a new stage of all geopolitical changes we're experiencing. Merchants should be ready for the scenario where buyers can't afford to purchase more expensive stuff. Probably it's not an issue, but the case is that retailers' additional costs for goods and their delivery grew. So here we see the customer desire to spend less and retailers' desire to earn more, at least to make their businesses profitable.
This is not the worst crisis in our life, so both sides will overcome it by 2024, as expected. Meanwhile, retailers are now in a state of tension and euphoria since peak season is always about the increase in audience and requests regardless of consumer financial capabilities. So, merchants should try hard to satisfy everyone and deliver excellent customer experience under any conditions.
But what will be next, when the lessons would be learned, money - earned and goods - sold? This is what we offer you to think about because this post-holiday period is always much more important than the peak time itself. Scroll down to explore how the holiday season can help you to find out more about customers and what experience can help you to sell more in 2023.
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Peak Season is Over. What's Next?
So, what will happen after the real rush you experienced for several months? It would be a time to sum everything up and make a sort of retrospective to explore what worked well and wasn't efficient. These practical insights will help you dive into zones for improvement and create scenarios on how to cover your weaknesses.
Since each merchant is now instead an IT-retail company rather than a retail one, your new knowledge will be a key to the next level of your digital transformation journey. At this stage, retailers usually discover what improvements they need in the digital field to:
increase overall scalability
make software flexible to unexpected business conditions
satisfy dynamic customer demand with a relevant digital approach
I recently discovered that Walmart had launched a new AR feature allowing customers to fit clothes while staying home. They just need to upload their pictures into the system, illustrating how garments would suit them. Looks pretty handy. Curious why the retail giant decided to introduce this feature now, during the holiday season. Of course, to achieve a boost in sales and make the online shopping experience smooth. I bet this idea came from the holiday season times when customers couldn't visit brick-and-mortar stores to fit everything they needed because of the pandemic restrictions. So, most likely, it was the brand's reaction to the discovery they made at that time.
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Holiday Season 2022: Lessons Learned
eCommerce is here to stay
Despite the spreading opinion that brick-and-mortar stores will fight for popularity, online sales channels are still leading. At least because it's a convenient way to make purchases that doesn't require much time. For most offline retailers, it's one more reason to think about eCommerce as the field for investment. But merchants should try hard because fierce competition here is mushrooming.
For those, who already change their priorities in eCommerce favor, this season will also be full of surprises since customers don't want to experience traditional approaches to online shopping anymore. They demand an omnichannel and mobile-first approach, timely response to their requests, availability of all goods in your product catalog, and the opportunity to explore as much as possible about the item they intend to buy.
So, probably, after the holiday season, online retailers will create bold ideas based on their discoveries and try to implement them using software modernization, new technologies, and new features.
There's a way to increase revenue in times of inflation
The leading blocker this holiday season is inflation, of course. Unfortunately, you can't do anything with it. So the task is tricky since retailers should tailor buyers' financial capabilities and stay afloat by receiving at least something. Since robbing a bank and providing people with more money is not the best scenario, merchants will think of how to make their goods affordable and earn simultaneously after this peak season. Most likely, the changes will also concern the above additional costs and operating spending. Merchants will:
look for new suppliers
do everything legal to decrease the tax burden
optimize supply chain routes to regulate costs
prefer work-from-home mode for back-office employees
This way, they will manage to save resources and provide consumers with cheaper items they can afford now.
Digital transformation must go one
Last but not least, digital transformation will still remain a driving force of retailers' prosperity and increase in their revenue. So all lessons learned will definitely find their implementation in relevant software updates. Some retailers can invest in boosting their eCommerce ecosystem to get the flexibility of actions and provide a user-friendly experience. Others will discover that they don't have enough information about clients and use advanced Point of Sale systems to explore more. This season, merchants also can find out that their marketing campaigns are not efficient and the burden for marketing and IT departments is so high. This discovery will let them consider real-time campaign management as a solution. One more obvious discovery this peak season might concern is scalability since it's a frequent issue when hundreds of customer requests simultaneously can lead to system failure. So, merchants that experienced it will do their best to get more opportunities for scaling regarding all software products: from contact center to website.
The sky's the limit, so merchants will always have to discover software gaps in their operations and think about how to cover them correctly. Correcting mistakes is not so pleasant. Meanwhile, it's fruitful enough to provide retailers with achievements they want to reach in the next holiday season.
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The post-holiday season is a time to evaluate results and open new business perspectives helping move forward. Fortunately, retailers have a chance to experience it more than any other industry representatives. Fortunately, because the new knowledge and insights can ensure merchants a competitive advantage: explore their weak points and turn them into strengths.
Each holiday season requires careful planning and preparation. Like an annual exam, it makes businesses work at full capacity and shows their effectiveness. So the primary goal here is to remain enthusiastic and happy with the results after the party ends.
Looking for a way to prepare for the next holiday season to drive your sales? Contact our sales team to explore how JEVERA Software can support you with cutting-edge custom solutions.