Following mixed Christmas results for many of our high street retailers, they’re now focused on planning for the next seasonal shopping event to tempt us into stores. Easter is an important event for many, especially given the fact that consumer spending for the holiday period could reach over £1.2 billion if predictions from last year are anything to go by. And as over 80 million Easter eggs are sold annually in the UK, it’s imperative that retailers maximise their share of this spend.
This is a sentiment echoed by PwC who predicts that retail growth in 2019 will be all about winning market share through areas such as increased investment in technology. Its recent customer survey shows how consumers are buying smarter, with more of us opting to shop around and purchase a greater proportion of promotional or own-label goods. Amazon is doing its best to prevent this by tempting us online in announcing eight days of Easter deals in March, including 30% off some premium branded Easter eggs.
Using historical purchase data
In order to plan for Easter, retailers will analyse historical purchase data from the same period from previous years. This will enable them to understand which types of promotions are the most effective, which products to promote, when to promote them and to provide predicted sales figures for supply chain management.
Obviously, the more data retailers have access to when planning their campaigns, the more insightful the promotion. But, how do they know which is the right customer offer for optimal sales figures without compromising the bottom line? This can never be predicted with 100% accuracy until the promotion is up and running.
Access to real-time POS data
However, this question can be addressed by taking an agile approach. Key to this strategy is having access to both historical data and real-time data generated at the point of sale (POS). This approach enables a retailer’s marketing team to understand which promotions are working, and those that aren’t, and to act upon those insights - before the campaign finishes.
Being able to react to campaign performance and adapt individual promotions in real-time and during the Easter period can be incredibly powerful, giving retailers a competitive edge over rivals who may only have access to historical data.
Agility in campaigns
This level of agility also allows campaign teams to run several offers to different subsets of customers, concurrently, in the lead-up to Easter. Different levels of discounting versus reductions in pricing can be monitored and measured against one another other, in real-time.
Campaign managers can then analyse which promotions are proving most effective, switch off those that are not performing as well, and then move customers over to ensure they are on the receiving end of the best-performing campaigns. All of this can be actioned at any point during the campaign, even on Good Friday, and will still have a positive impact on sales.
In addition, with the right data and execution platform, seasonal campaigns can be set up in the days leading up to the event, rather than requiring months of planning in advance. In this way, campaigns can be implemented using insights from the most up-to-date transaction data as well as taking into consideration any external factors, such as the weather, which may impact those promotions.
Making this Easter a success
Having a plan and predicting customer behaviour is important in order to capitalise on sales opportunities this Easter. Of course, historical data will prove valuable in developing the right strategy to achieve projected sales figures. But, having a plan which can be adapted according to customer purchasing habits in real-time may be more important, especially for highly competitive and time-bound seasonal shopping events such as Easter.