After a whirlwind year for Australian retailers, it’s time to get ready for the end of year (EOY) demand. With many premises having to shut doors last year, it’s no surprise that eCommerce sales reached an all-time high. Last year, online spending in Australia accounted for over $52.1 billion of sales. With consumer confidence rising, retailers will be eager to make the most of the EOY shopping season.
Here’s how to ensure your business is ready for the rush.
Meet shoppers where they are
It’s expected that many shoppers will start searching for bargains online thanks to its convenience. After a year of accelerated eCommerce, one thing is clear: the need for retailers to optimise online trading is critical.
Social media is becoming an increasingly important channel for retailers looking to drive customers online. In 2020, the share of consumers in Australia who use their social accounts for online shopping increased by nearly 20%, which is expected to grow. Ahead of the EOY period, it’s a good idea to ensure your e-commerce platform is running smoothly and is streamlined to best engage with your customers.
Here are the main points to consider:
- Do your research: investigate your specific area and be sure to check out what your competitors are doing
- Choose a platform that is set up to manage inventory, take and ship orders and receive payments, all in one place
- Make sure your website is easy to browse with a search function, and images are high quality and load quickly
- Invest in multichannel selling – allow your customers to shop and purchase through whichever channel they prefer. Don’t forget to link to your social media platforms and get creative with how you target your audience. For example, create a few ‘mini campaigns’ that target specific buyers with products that are likely to interest them
- Don’t neglect marketing and advertising initiatives: A general rule of thumb is to budget about 7-8% of your revenue for marketing purposes
Now may be the time to ensure visitors can easily navigate your digital storefront, add items to their cart and checkout with minimal friction. Nearly 70% of online store visitors leave items in their cart due to website issues or confusing checkout processes. Also, stress test your systems to simulate peak demand to remedy any weaknesses well ahead of time.
Brick and mortar retailers should consider putting on extra staff to ensure customer requests are handled promptly.
In response to recent challenges, Accenture categorised five types of consumers ranging from ‘The Worrier’ – someone concerned about their health – to ‘The Indifferent’. Considering these preferences, retailers do well to consider how to make the in-store shopping experience safe and enjoyable for all, so be sure to review your relevant state’s government guidelines on how to make your store Covid-safe.
Can your supply chain management take the heat?
The past year has profoundly impacted supply chain operations across all industries, not least retail. One issue in your supply chain can cause prolonged delays that can have negatively impact your whole business. To safeguard against potential pain points, the EOY rush may be the perfect time to add a safety net.
Investing in technology that allows supply chain optimisation can let you simplify operations and can give the teams the information required for timely decisions. In fact, 47% of supply chain leaders in Australia plan to invest in such technology over the next year.
A cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can give your business 360-degree visibility, allowing seamless collaboration across the board. Before committing to a solution, ensure the technology is truly cloud-first and investigate the extent to which it integrates with your other systems.
Data, Data, Data
When preparing for EOY sales, data is your best friend. Look at your sales from the last year and see which products were popular, which marketing strategies led to the most success and which customer segment purchased the most products. You can then use this information to strategically purchase popular inventory and adjust your marketing strategies accordingly.
Robust business management tools can do a lot of the heavy lifting by breaking down data into actionable insights and help you to identify potential issues – like product shortfalls – before they become a problem. For example, some businesses have anticipated longer sales cycles and have prepared their warehousing solutions accordingly.
You might not be ready to dust off the Santa suit just yet, but now could be a good time to get ahead in preparing for the EOY sales. By taking a data-led approach, optimising your eCommerce presence, and strategically purchasing inventory, you can ensure your business is ready for crunch time.