Are you thinking of Christmas yet? As a retailer you should be, with Christmas and summer peak trade on the horizon. Customers have become more savvy than ever―and the retail market crowded and noisy―meaning shoppers are good at filtering out the things they don’t want to hear. That can make communication to your customers tricky, but with peak periods making up around 36 per cent of a retailer’s annual profit, it is important that retailers make this season count.
To make sure your trade is bigger, better and more profitable this Christmas (and during peak periods in general), Inspiring Retail owner Jenn Donovan put together a few points for all of the retailers out there looking to get ahead:
PLAN―this is something I can’t stress enough! If you haven’t already started planning for Christmas, get to it, because you’re already behind. The first step to successfully planning is looking at what worked and what didn’t for your business last season. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and work out a plan that ensures you’re bringing the things that worked into this season, and that you’re improving on those that didn’t. Retailing is an extremely competitive landscape and you need to take notice of what works for you in order to stay ahead.
BUILD YOUR LIST NOW―it is important that you build a list of loyal customers throughout the year, nurturing them along until they are ready to buy. A customer who is given value during the year will be 85 per cent more likely to choose you in peak periods, especially at Christmas, when competition is fierce.
MARKETING―having a marketing strategy in place long before the pressure mounts ensures crucial steps aren’t missed. It also ensures your messages are going directly to your customers.
SPOT THE TREND―trends rapidly change and evolve, so it’s important that you’re constantly doing your research and staying ahead of the game. When researching―and before you even think about stocking any form of product―it’s important that what you’re considering fits with your brand and your expertise. Also, ensure that it’s in your customer’s budget because they wont buy something they can’t afford. Check with your stockist that you’re able to get products in time―not before the trend and not after, and check that you can re-order. And most importantly, think about whether or not the product is something your customers are actually going to want.
GET THE RIGHT STAFF―NOW―your staff are your most important asset no matter the time of year. It’s important that you’re hiring staff that are the right fit for your business―after all, they are the first point of contact with your customers. Staff are in charge of first impressions, which is something you only get one shot at. Ensure you get it right, by investing in your staff and training them well.
Jenn Donovan successfully runs a company named Inspiring Retail, which educates, connects and inspires small business within the retail industry. Whether your retail business is online or offline, new or established, Jenn’s first-hand retail experience and knowledge will help you get the competitive edge your business needs. She will be leading retail education sessions at the Reed Gift Fair in Melbourne.