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The dos and don’ts of the season

We’ve all been there. Standing in the never-ending queue to pay for the products we’re purchasing – trying to think of our happy place but instead constantly contemplating why there aren’t more checkouts available.

It’s that time of the year many of us have a love/hate relationship with; the Golden Quarter.

This period between October and December equals huge opportunities for both customers and retailers thanks to sales events such as Black Week and of course, pre- and post-Christmas campaigns.

Most retailers nowadays take part in the activities, but with varied success. The struggle is still very much real when it comes to administrative hiccups such as in-store efficiency issues, warehouse management problems, and online bugs.

Even though we’re at the end of October, way into the Golden Quarter, many retailers have not yet prepared their stores, websites, and warehouses for increased customer numbers.

Jonas Bergström, Head of Product Strategy & Marketing at Extenda Retail says; “The Golden Quarter is a time where retailers can make a majority of their yearly profits if they prepare. Hence, a successful pre-Christmas period can make or break the difference between the company having a successful or unsuccessful year. Therefore, it’s vital to have software that scales during the peak season and optimizes replenishment.”

So how do you make the most of this golden opportunity? How do you make it stick? What should you say and do? And maybe more importantly, what should you not say and do? As always, it’s all about preparation and planning.

Learn how the latest retail technology can upgrade your business!

To make the most of the Golden Quarter, use the Extenda Retail check-list.

Check-it-out

  • To maximize sales, it’s key to efficiently scale up your checkout capacity. Think of how you can utilize the software’s flexibility and increase the in-store POS numbers efficiently depending on needs, staffing and customer numbers. Do you need Self Checkouts (SCOs), Mobile Checkouts, Mobile Scan & Go or traditional POS systems in place?
  • Mobile POS variations are great during seasonal and temporary campaigns, as they require minimal space, are easy to scale and can simply be enabled or disabled during busy or less busy periods. They also offer your in-store staff the opportunity to circulate the stores and help customers while taking sales.
  • One way to “help your customers help themselves” shop is to implement Mobile Scan & Go solutions – where customers can scan and pay for items on their phones directly. Fast, easy and requires minimal effort from your end.
  • If you can install SCOs these can be very efficient, as they usually use one dedicated space in your store, and provide a great complement to the traditional POS.
  • E-gift card kiosks are a quick and easy way for retailers who aren’t ready to explore SCOs or Mobile POS variations, and it offers an easy gift-shopping experience for customers.

Planning ahead in the background

  • You can’t sell what you don’t have! Plan ahead with POS & Back Office systems. An efficient solution helps to plan and scale accordingly.
  • Use the data you have; the real-time analytics will help you review items that are selling out fast or slow in comparison to estimates.
  • Manage campaigns across multiple stores via head office – adjust pricing and promotions across the entire business for streamlined campaigns.

Behind the scenes

  • Look over your WMS Systems and their FAQs and cheat sheets – with up to 3 x the warehouse staff required during busier times, all necessary support you can get is required to keep the outbound flow of customer orders steady.
  • Increase the server capacity temporarily – just as your website, the warehouse is dependent on high server performance to avoid inefficiencies as volumes increase drastically.
  • Plan for returns – increased sales equals increased returns. Be content with coping with the Golden Quarter, but don’t miss planning for extra return resources after the quarter is over, as returns can come in for a while in the new year.

Loyalty is a winner

  • Plan your loyalty campaigns and communication in advance. Make your loyal customers feel special by giving them unique offers like VIP-events or extra discounts.
  • Personalization is key in getting your customers attention in times when they’re drowning in email marketing messages and offers from the whole retail landscape. Use your data and knowledge of the customer to optimize your message to the individual.
  • Ensure you have solutions that can scale up during the most intense days, like Black Friday or the days before Christmas. Your system will probably handle huge amount of member lookups and transactions as well as running automated processes. Slow performance when the customer is identifying at the checkout will lead to dissatisfaction and less sales.

WorldWideWeb

  • Testing testing: Try the technology and processes ahead of launching each campaign to ensure the offers reach the right customers, at the right time, in the right format.
  • Checkout optimization: Help your customers complete their purchase by providing a seamless online user experience. No bugs allowed..

Follow the above check-list to make sure you’ve got your business covered – this way you’ll have a hassle-free Golden Quarter with happy customers and smooth in-house processes.

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Jonas Bergström

Head of Product Marketing at Extenda Retail

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