3 Things to Remember During the 2017 Holiday Retail Season

by Carolina Cano-Espinoza | Holiday Fulfillment

Weather is getting cooler, retail stores are filling up with artificial firs, and the smell of pumpkin spice is everywhere you go, which means… the 2017 holiday retail season is here. Whether you are ready or not (if you’re not, you can catch up here), you should be  excited because consumer spending is up for another record-breaking year!

This year’s holiday sales are projected to reach up to $682 billion, nearly 4.0% increase over last year’s total. What’s more, online retailers can expect their best sales season to date, with ecommerce claiming 11.5% of total revenues.

We know it’s easy to get caught up in the holiday chaos, but it’s important to remember the following three things during the rush of it all:

1. There will be two types of retailers and you must be conscious of which one you want to be.

While there is no right or wrong approach to the strategy your business takes on during the holidays, make sure it’s a conscious, strategic decision. The holidays bring these two types of retailers:

  • Retailers who focus on increasing revenues by acquiring more customers during the holidays with flashy deals (quantity).
  • Retailers who focus on increasing profits by leveraging a quality, personalized customer experience to promote loyal customers (quality).

The first retailer may see a higher short-term payoff, but is likely to see a greater fallout. Depending on your customer acquisition cost and the nature of your product, you may not be concerned with repeat purchases. It’s possible your product is a low-cost item, where investing in personalized customer service is unjustified or maybe your product is a one-time purchase item by nature. It is always in your best interest to provide great customer service, but it may not be part of your business strategy.

The second retailer may see efforts pay off greater in the long-term. Creating loyal customers is an investment. More resources are needed to personalize experience and increase the level of customer service provided. However, loyal customers are more likely to recommend your brand to a friend, decreasing your acquisition cost and are more likely to accept recommendations from your brand, increasing total spend. If your brand sells repeat purchase items or you are constantly introducing new items, you’ll want to develop relationships with these customers.

2.Your marketing efforts must evolve throughout the season and adapt to timely events.

If you’re hoping to really resonate with customers during their holiday shopping, your messaging and tactics have to evolve to remain relevant and top of mind. Planning a well thought-out holiday marketing campaign with display advertising, SEO, email drip campaigns, and influencer marketing is great, but adapting your marketing approach to timely happenings is crucial.

An easy way to do so is through social media, because you can execute quickly and easily adapt to trending topics. A solid caption and good use of trending hashtags and events can get your brand in front of an audience with little resources involved. Additionally, social media allows you to take advantage of user generated content as it becomes available to provide a continuous stream of fresh marketing content.

3. Most importantly, don’t let increased holiday demands get the best of you.

You should aim for your best selling season to date, but don’t let the chaos of the holidays get the best of you. There’s only so much planning you can do and preventative measures you can take. No matter the resources invested, there will be hiccups and obstacles to overcome.

Remain calm if something does not go as planned, stay true to your brand, transparent with your customers, and fair to yourself. It’s a critical period for your business, but it’s not the only determinant of success. Whether this is your first holiday retail season or your 15th, be prepared, be flexible, and be sure to enjoy your holidays.

We’re ready to help you grow your business this holiday season. Check out the Learning Center for resources to optimize fulfillment and ecommerce strategy. For questions regarding Rakuten Super Logistics or outsourced fulfillment, contact us at 866-983-7447 or marketing@rakutensl.com.