As we reflect on 2021 and return from Christmas and New Year breaks to start the year refreshed, it is important, while it is still relevant, that you review your sales results and performance from Peak Season past and see where there is any opportunity for learnings and improvements.
While each retailer would have faced their own share of great triumphs and as little as possible obstacles they may have had to overcome, we need to take the opportunity to review the previous peak season to make the coming one, bigger and better.
Here are the top 5 tips or themes to evaluate your Peak Season performance:
Don’t allow your dispatch to disappoint your customers
So much emphasis and resources go into marketing, customer communications, product merchandising and website functionality, and whilst all of these are extremely important, the detail and efficiency in your pick, pack, dispatch process is equally important to the customer journey and overall brand awareness in an online presence.
Preparing for peak periods where you are forecasting an increase in order volume, should entail but is not limited to, reviewing your dispatch area layout – ensure this is laid out in the most efficient way to moving around, reaching stock / pigeonholes, printers and packing stations are located closest to the courier pickup area. Staffing for peak periods is equally important – your customers want their orders quickly and being able to sustain your business as usual dispatch times, will require extra skilled hands. Your fulfilment hours may run longer, earlier in the morning or staffed in shifts.
Review your business rules and logic for order fulfilment. Based on the performance of 2021 peak season, how can you improve? As returns slowly start to drift in, is your quality of picking needing review? Were specific warehouses or stores used wisely in priority for fulfilment.
Overall, how can you ensure your orders are picked fast, efficiently and at the lowest cost.
Turn new customers into loyal repeat customers, but don’t forget about your existing customers
While social marketing has a goal for reaching new, like customers, who are interested in your brand, product or similar, or company values. You ideally want new customers to engage with you and your brand, sign up for newsletters and with the ultimate goal of a purchase. But you mustn’t forget about your existing customers.
Your existing customers have purchased with you before, they are familiar with you, they are often repeat customers and they hold very valuable insight for new customers in the way of User Generated Content for Reviews, which inspire and provide confidence for new and would-be customers.
So, while you continue to grow your customer base, don’t forget to nourish your existing customers, incentivize them and reward them for being loyal to your brand.
Make it easy
Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) has turned in to Cyber Season. Gone has the day of the annual event that starts and ends after 4 days, or a single Boxing Day. With so many retailers going on sale and the spike in promotions, you need to make sure your sale or offer is easy for customers to understand and achieve.
Creating unique promotions can be fun to market and seemingly make you stand out from the crowd, but they can also be confusing and deemed just ‘too hard’ when customers are trying to shop. This can cause frustration and lead to higher abandoned cart rates.
Once you have decided on your promotion and these are set up, make sure they working as intended, with no hidden secrets or criteria, leaving no question about how to achieve, and they work as they say they will, check and check again for accuracy. They need to be easily understood and accurate.
Staff team accordingly, consider customer enquiry volumes
Sending out communications such as SMS or eDM campaigns will no doubt drive your customers to your site, but it will also trigger increased volumes of customers contacting your Customer Support.
Enquires about stock, product information, promotions or deliveries will be increase over a period from when the campaigns are sent and it is a good idea to ensure you have right level of staff available to answer these queries and assist customers in timely manner.
Be sure to arm your CSR’s with a copy of the campaigns so they know what customers are receiving any relevant information that is front of mind at that time, ie; update on delayed delivery times.
Plan, plan and plan some more
It is never too early to start planning for a sales event. Even now, start considering how you will run your BFCM event for 2022 or any major event in your promotional calendar.
The plan can be finessed over the coming months and starting with the framework of what and how you want to offer your customers the best deal, taking key learnings from last year / events and adapting to the customer demand and eCommerce landscape at that time.
Keeping in mind strategic and roadmap items for the year ahead that could also be beneficial and timely to closely released sales events.
Make sure your plan is well communicated and involves all the right key stakeholders and this will provide the foundations for a strong peak period and sales event for you and your team to deliver successfully.