Christmas is just around the corner, which means that businesses are preparing for the busiest time of year. Knowing how to position your business to take advantage of the festive season is more essential than ever as ecommerce and supply chain disruptions change consumer behaviour.
This week we ask: how can you make the most of end of year sales?
Natasha Burns, Sales Director, Go1
News that Christmas tree farms are selling out is proof people are starting to reopen their wallets. Whether it’s the festive season, easing lockdowns, money saved from cancelled travel or just the hope that the woes of 2020 will soon be over, spending appears to be enjoying a surge. While traditional end of year sales were about consumer items, these days every business – whether B2B or B2C – is creating promotions and special offers and deals aligned with holiday events. Many businesses have undergone accelerated digital transformation this year and are ready and receptive for new products and services. A good way to reduce stock and/or drive additional revenue, especially in the lead-up to Christmas, is by offering attractive deals – be they bundles or discounts. Ultimately, businesses who offer a service or product that improves or creates a more efficient way of working will reap the rewards of end of year sales.
Edward Wiley, Director of Strategic Partnerships Ecommerce, OFX
2020 has brought its fair share of challenges and opportunities for ecommerce businesses, pushing many retailers to either take a leap into the online world or strengthen their ecommerce offering into new global markets.
In fact, in November, we saw a 41 per cent uplift in transactions from our online seller clients, compared to the same period in 2019.
As Australian businesses head into end of year sales and with the Aussie dollar breaking through 0.75 US cents this week, retailers need to be aware of the potential pitfalls that could impact profits, especially with cross-border trade.
Transaction fees, market volatility, and the automatic currency conversions imposed by some marketplaces are examples of costs that can add up, particularly during sale periods.
Working with an OFXpert to find the right solution for your business, like a multi-currency account or the option to fix your rates, can help minimise risk and provide currency certainty over the holiday season and beyond.
Gordana Redzovski, Vice President APAC, Vend
With under 10 days left until Christmas day, capitalising on the last-minute rush can greatly impact a retailer’s bottom line to end the year. While early bird shoppers may have utilised a combination of ecommerce and in-store shopping, a significant proportion of last-minute shoppers will flock to stores in the coming days. Streamline the in-store shopping experience by listing your in-store inventory online, implementing loyalty schemes, introducing click and collect and using targeted marketing to promote your products, returns policies and everything else your customers need to know ahead of the end of year sales.
With many of these last-minute shoppers on the lookout for bargains and gifts, end of year sales are a great time to capitalise on the opportunity for upselling. Offers such as “buy one, get one,” placing smaller items near the checkout counter, and bundling related products helps to increase perceived value and incentivise sales.
Shaun Broughton, Director APAC, Shopify Plus
This year’s ecommerce boom particularly attracted younger consumers who have been quick to take their shopping online and drive market demand that has seen retailers rapidly accelerate their digital transformation plans. To make the most of the end of year sales, retailers will need to ensure they are addressing the needs of the 18-34 year old demographic, which Shopify’s research shows will require demonstrating convenient and seamless customer experiences. This includes contactless payments, curbside pickup options, and local delivery so consumers can take advantage of proximity when shopping locally.
Younger consumers will also be looking for independent, socially responsible and sustainable, and authentic brands this year and into 2021. The onus will be on merchants to transparently demonstrate and communicate how they address each of these areas and the value this provides to customers.
Sean Girvin, Managing Director ANZ, Rackspace Technology
As 2020 draws to a close, retail businesses need to take the opportunity to implement changes and updates to their IT systems so they are ready to hit the ground running in the new year. It may be that they need to look at a “change freeze” to ensure nothing goes wrong whilst the majority of employees are on annual leave.
During the critical end of year retail period, it is also important for retailers to continue investing in their ecommerce platforms to keep up with increased traffic and ensure the security of their site and their customer’s data. When looking to make adjustments to IT systems, think about executing load and penetration testing ahead of big sales event like Boxing Day, proactive capacity review and remediation of bottlenecks and single points of failure.
Tunc Bolluk, Vice President APAC, Validity
The end of year sales period is often referred to as the “Golden Quarter” because it’s one of the busiest and most lucrative times of the year for businesses. And after such a tumultuous year, the final push to boost end of year sales revenue is more important than ever this year. With that, businesses must put their best foot forward to cut through the noise and attract customers.
The most important advantage a business can have over their competition is being data-driven. Having valuable and accurate information about your customers at your fingertips means you can speed up the sales cycle by personalising the customer’s experience based on their interests, needs, and behaviours – giving them the gift of a seamless and convenient shopping experience. Another important advantage to being a data-driven business is that you’re better equipped to monitor all aspects of your operations, from sales to returns and customer engagement, enabling you to consistently refine and improve your offering.
Leon Adato, Head Geek™, SolarWinds
Online spending has soared this year as shoppers opted to buy online due to changing COVID-19 restrictions. While Australia looks to be through the worst of the pandemic, there will still be an element of caution around travelling to busy shopping malls this holiday season. For retailers, this means doubling down on digital channels. Stress testing systems now is crucial—the last thing you want is a crashed site during peak season. Retailers should work with their IT teams to implement network performance monitoring tools, allowing teams to act fast during spikes of activity and empowering them with the necessary data to diagnose recurring problems potentially affecting performance. Businesses nailing end-of-year sales with a frictionless online customer experience will make the most of end of year sales and start 2021 on the right foot.
Simon Le Grand, Director Of Marketing And Product Management, Lightspeed
The promising signs of a national financial recovery, coupled with the easing of pandemic-imposed restrictions mean many Aussies will return to their regular spending habits in the lead up to Christmas.
To cut through the noise of these busy sales periods and capture your customers’ attention, it’s important to move away from a “one size fits all” approach and recognise that personalised content is a crucial part of the selling experience. Different promotions may suit different demographics, so it’s critical to equip your business with the right tools to understand consumer behaviour and create targeted strategies. Short-term sales should also be viewed as acquisition tools for long-term customer relationships, and the opportunity to generate repeat business. Advanced point-of-sale software provides extensive capabilities such as customer segmentation, profiles and sales history, while seamlessly integrating to marketing and loyalty platforms – resulting in a more personalised customer experience and more profitable outcomes for businesses.