Wrapping up sales this Christmas

Michael Poyser
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It’s that time of year again. The Coca Cola truck is making its way across the UK. Our town centres are lit up with fairy lights. And retailers’ hotly-anticipated Christmas adverts — the rallying call for the annual Christmas battle for footfall — have all been unveiled. Whether the ads appeal to our emotional side or are simply offering us a good deal, their objective is the same — retailers all want a share of our spend this Christmas.

The Christmas trading season can be make or break for retailers and some will get more share of the £50 billion pie than others. But what can retailers do to encourage us to spend our money with them this year?

According to research, 65% of us are planning to spend most of our budget online this Christmas. But in order to convert this into store spend, retailers are putting an increased emphasis on their product range, placing their products centre stage of their Christmas campaigns, and leading with high quality, unique merchandise and tantalising window displays to tempt us through their doors. But, keeping shoppers in stores, and getting them back in, is another matter.

One-to-one marketing is one way that retailers can encourage customers to return to their stores — giving customers incentives to try specific products, or even a “thank you” with a free coffee or money off a regular shop. Putting these offers into the hands of customers while they are in-store, either as digital and paper coupons, has proven to be a very effective way to bring customers back. And these methods can be applied to new customers just as easily as returning loyal customers.

But what can retailers do to improve on last year’s Christmas performance? Like-for-likes are the lifeblood of retailing, so being able to build upon last year’s performance is key to a retailer’s success over the festive period.

One of the ways in which retailers can improve their performance this year is by analysing —in detail — the data from previous Christmas periods. This analysis should be based not just on units and volumes sold, but also understanding exactly how customers shopped. For example, which customers shopped across different categories? Who were the early adopters of the brand’s new Christmas lines? And who came back to buy them again?

All of these insights are key to understanding what did or didn’t work well, enabling retailers to replicate any successes this festive period, and to identify the “turkeys” to avoid repeating this year.

It’s also important that retailers capitalise on the momentum they’ve built throughout the year to keep their customers returning throughout the festive shopping period. Data captured at the point of sale can be used to provide customer-specific offers to entice shoppers into stores or to identify regular shoppers that may go “missing” during the month of December. Giving these customers an offer in November to use during the festive period can play a key role in being successful at retaining more customers this Christmas.

Shoppers will naturally stretch their spend in the run up to Christmas, often doubling their spend in the four-week build-up to Christmas, particularly when it comes to grocery shopping. But being able to stay ahead of this trend and getting shoppers to remain loyal as they grow their spend is key. 



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