Retailers are already gearing up for the holidays

Posted on Sep 16, 2014 · 3 min read

Christmas lights and decorationsI have to admit I found it disconcerting this week when I saw Christmas lights and decorations on the shelves next to Halloween candy, costumes, and discounted school supplies at the store yesterday, but Fred Meyer isn’t the only company getting into the holiday spirit early this year. 18% of retailers surveyed by Hay Group said they’re busting out their holiday promotions this month, and over half are planning to begin holiday campaigns before Halloween this year. Last year 65% of businesses waited until after trick-or-treating before gearing up for the holidays, but just like we’ve seen with the back-to-school season, the holiday season is starting earlier and earlier each year.

I haven’t even had my first soy pumpkin latte of the season yet, but Veterans Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and Hanukkah will be here before you know it, and retailers plan to be prepared. Many have invested in technology to improve their omnichannel and mobile customer experiences. 47% have omnichannel strategies in place for the upcoming holiday season (compared to just 14% last year), and 71% will use mobile platforms to drive holiday sales.

If your company needs to up your omnichannel game this year, it’s not too late. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Check to see if your commerce platform offers responsive designs, and look into making the switch if you haven’t already. Consumers are making more transactions than ever on smartphones and tablets, and they’re also using their phones to compare prices and read reviews. Make sure your e-commerce site is mobile-friendly.
  2. Get ready to provide excellent customer service. As many retailers are writing job descriptions for seasonal help this year, they’re looking for brand ambassadors, not just someone looking for a little extra spending money. Hire staff that are knowledgeable about your products, and arm them with as much customer data as possible so they can provide first class service and a personalized customer experience.
  3. Optimize your in-store promotions. If you offer special discounts or coupons in your store, it’s time to go omnichannel and honor the same discounts online and via mobile. Eligibility verification solutions can protect your brand from fraud. Hosted solutions can be up and running in as little as six business days. Try a military discount for Veterans Day or a student discount for Cyber Monday!
  4. Create multi-channel campaigns. If you’re already creating a special contest, campaign, or promotion for your web site, maximize your ROI by also posting it on your social media networks, blogging about it, blasting it out to your email list, putting posters up about it in your stores, and including it in your catalog. You could even send out a press release about it if you’re doing something really interesting. Make the most of your content.

You’ll be ready for the holiday shopping season in no time, and then you can sit back and really enjoy Halloween and Thanksgiving while you wait for the other holidays to actually roll around.

 

Angela Modzelewski by Angela Modzelewski