It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and in the retail industry, it’s truly remarkable. Retailers earn up to 40 percent of their revenue during the holidays, which can make or break their year. But is it really as blissful for consumers? For shoppers, the holidays too often mean crowded stores, long lines, and wasted time searching for the best deals. The brands that will win this holiday season are the ones keeping these pain points in mind and finding creative solutions.
Just how are they doing that? Our team at Alliance Data recently shared our 2017 Holiday Outlook report for retailers. Alongside our sister businesses—Epsilon, Conversant and LoyaltyOne—we’ve combined forces to share insights on how brands are preparing to shine bright this holiday season.
Know Your Customer’s Journey
76% of U.S. consumers expect their interactions with a brand to be easy
From browsing to buying, consumers expect shopping to be easy with the advent of new technologies.
Customer journey maps can be used to identify and prioritize their most enjoyable experiences. This data can inform marketing, merchandising, and operational decisions. On the flip side, data can also show which customer experiences are the most frustrating. Once retailers know the biggest negative impacts on shopper performance, they can address them, ultimately improving the customer experience.
Rely on Digital to Enhance the Positive and Remove Roadblocks
54% of consumers want to check out without having to wait in line
Brands know a lack of acquisition during the holidays has a proven correlation to negative seasonal sales and long-term missed opportunities. If something is too hard, customers are likely to avoid it altogether.
Successful retailers are enhancing digital solutions that augment the customer experience. They are making improvements regarding online browsing, in-store purchasing, loyalty membership, rewards redemption, or credit application. If a customer experiences friction anywhere along the way, it can lead to a lackluster interaction.
Build Loyalty through Personalization
60% of younger shoppers want personalized offers through their mobile devices
Loyalty is more than a rewards program. From the first interaction, customers are deciding whether or not they want to connect with a brand again. Every interaction from “hello” to “thank you” should be treated like a chance to earn a customer’s loyalty.
Winning brands are leaning into data from every angle, including prescriptive indictors, channel preferences, psychographic and demographic attributes, and transactional and browsing history. This helps them get to know the customer better and make those deeper connections that build long-term relationships.
Also, they’re training in-store associates to view every customer interaction as an opportunity to gain and solidify customer loyalty. This can be supported with digital Clienteling tools that help associates to quickly access transaction history, past consultations, purchase history, loyalty levels, product preferences, customer wish lists, and more.