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6 Ways Retailers Can Cash in During the Holidays

Retail Dive recently shared a great post on the top strategies for driving maximum traffic over the holidays, so we thought we’d build upon that concept with a few additional tips on how to optimize these strategies with modern retail technology. 

Retail Dive Noted the Following 6 Tactics: 

  1. Highlighting promotions
  2. Getting websites ready for increased traffic
  3. Offering BOPIS
  4. Building up mobile capabilities
  5. Preparing for returns
  6. Creating an in-store experience

1) Highlighting promotions

According to the article, “the best way to get people to engage early is by offering calculated deals that are more targeted.” Providing customers with the right offers is now becoming easier for retailers with advancements in AI, which provide insights into what deals may influence a customer to buy. 

If you haven’t seen it yet, download IDC’s report on the top Worldwide Retail Price Optimization Applications. One solution highlighted as a leader is Oracle Retail Offer Optimization, which is a powerful AI application that personalizes promotional offers with un-rivaled accuracy to drive better results. 

When connected to Oracle Retail Customer Engagement’s expansive dataset of omnichannel purchase and promotion response data, Offer Optimization is continuously learning what works best for whom. Offer Optimization gains insight into which offers individual customers are most responsive to, and then generates highly individualized offers and posts them directly into each customer’s promotional wallet so they can take advantage of that customized and most relevant deal. When retailers offer up the most relevant offer to a customer, engagement and redemption rates go up, and so does and overall customer loyalty. Considering the high stakes of the holiday season, getting this right makes a material impact for a retailer. 

Targeted and Loyalty Offers

For more on this topic check out: Retail Science: How Retail CMOs Can Use AI to Drive More Personal Offers and Marketing ROI

2) Getting websites ready for increased traffic

The amount of online traffic to retail sites on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other key holiday selling days sky rocket and some retail sites just can’t keep up. Being able to deliver a seamless online experience on these high traffic days is critical to making the sale.

With volume exceeding any other time in the year, there is a high likelihood that online systems will be stressed. This includes hosting, servers, software, Watch: What Makes a Great Online Shopping Experience?
web services, and more. Make sure to load test and stress test prior to the season, lock down or limit product catalogs, establish discounting rules up front, enable code freezes to avoid downtime into your IT, build in appropriate security measures and take advantage of SaaS services to manage the maintenance and capabilities of your online commerce engine during the season. High volume is a good problem to have unless your systems are not prepared for it. Here are more tips on preparing for the online experience.

3) Offering BOPIS

Last year there was a 47% adoption rate by retailers for buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) services, according to Adobe Analytics. This is the largest reported rate BOPIS has seen and has been popular with larger big box retailers. Leading fashion retailers such as Nordstrom, Stein Mart and Gap Inc. brands’ Banana Republic and Altheta are jumping on board to take advantage of these additional sales. So what’s the deal?

BOPIS has become a popular “collect and receive” option as customers increasingly expect instant gratification associated with same day pick-up for shopping that occurs wherever and whenever.  Top ways consumers shop - Oracle Retail Setting the Bar results 46% buy in-store and take home.

Our most recent Global Customer Experience Trends 2019 research report, Setting the Bar, found that BOPIS is the second favorite way consumers shop, as reported by 37% of the respondents. The most popular shopping method was buying in-store and taking the product home at 46%, which reinforces that BOPIS is continuing to gain momentum. 

Most retailers should anticipate their percentage of BOPIS traffic will continue to grow, and peak during high volume periods especially during holiday trading, making it a great time to upsell.

Example of upselling BOPIS traffic at the POS: One mid-sized retailer saw more than a $75 million increase in revenue turning over between 500M and 1B dollars, just by optimizing targeted offers at the point of pickup. The retailer had around 45% of their orders picked up in-store from known customers. This gave them real clarity on who was in their stores and when, and by combining this identified traffic with transactions they were able to predict with high precision what offers were most likely to generate additional purchases. 

4) Building up mobile capabilities

Despite the growth in mobile traffic to ecommerce websites, the conversion rate on mobile phones significantly trails desktop conversion. For many leading retail websites, cart abandonment and bounce rates on mobile devices, are significantly higher compared to their desktop versions. 

Here are some concepts and practical techniques that can help retailers improve the mobile experience of their ecommerce website to increase conversions.

5) Preparing for returns

Our Global Customer Experience Trends 2019 research – Setting the Bar - indicated that 77 percent of consumers plan to return a portion of their gifts, with nearly 20 percent expecting to return more than half of their presents. 

With this big return expectation, retailers can prepare to capitalize on identified traffic. While 32 percent of consumers noted they plan to return gifts via mail, 65 percent intend to return them to the store, giving retailers another opportunity to engage

When a retailer knows a specific customer is coming to their store, they need to be equipped to elevate the interaction from a single exchange or transaction to a moment that is a part of a bigger relationship that lasts season after season. The customer’s impression of the retailer from that moment will either strengthen the relationship and bring benefit or have a negative impact. 

Today’s best retailers programmatically create traffic via a “customer journey” construct and increasingly are accounting for traffic in their sales and demand  planning. Customer Acquisition and Renewal (A&R) is a relatively new set of processes for the retail industry with its own set of metrics and KPIs, the measurement of which is made possible in part by the existence of Customer Engagement systems. You can read more about that in this article on How to Proactively Engage Identified Retail Traffic.

6) Creating an in-store experience

A recent article stated, 86% of customers will pay more for a better experience. And hands down, the store is the preferred place to shop during the holidays

The Chalhoub Group, a stunning Oracle Retail luxury customer, made the strategic decision to significantly up-level their store experience with Oracle Retail Xstore. In a press release, Kenza Rekik, Chalhoub Group IT Business Relationship Manager shared, “50% of our guests expect to buy online and pick up in-store, and 51% say they expect to have the same experience online and offline. Today’s customer expects convenience, consistency from one channel to another, and to have real-time, personalized interactions, as they become more and more comfortable sharing personal data for tailored offers.”

The Chalhoub Group found the following characteristics of Xstore most compelling:

  1. Provides store associates quick and easy access to relevant customer information, such as purchase history and comments, so that they Chalhoub Corporate Videocan provide better assistance and service;
  2. Connects with any order management/CRM/gift card management system, so it reduces the need to switch between systems and ensures associates can do more for customers;
  3. Mobility and integrated card payments of Xstore simplifies, speeds, and improves the transaction process.

“This is a significant improvement from the way we were doing things in our store,” stated Rekik, “Customers are happy. Our guests love the fact that invoices are sent by email. They are very excited and intrigued about mobile transactions and payments, and they enjoy the faster and smoother checkout process.”

Whether you are a retailer looking to provide better offers to consumers, grow and optimize your BOPIS, or enhance your in-store and on-line experience, one thing is for certain, retailers that have a platform strategy that puts the customer at the core of every business process and decision will be positioned to win this holiday season and beyond.

Find out more about what consumers expect by downloading Setting the Bar: Global Customer Experience Trends 2019.

Oracle Retail Setting the Bar Consumer Report



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