Where’d the summer go? We’re rounding the corner into August, and we know what that means: The holidays are coming fast. While the rest of the world is wrapping up their summertime fun and heading back to school, retailers should look much further ahead to get the biggest payback from their holiday planning and promotions.
On the heels of the pandemic and in response to shoppers’ abilities to return to stores, brick-and mortar retailers outpaced e-commerce for the first time on record in 2021 with non-e-commerce sales jumping 17.3% to $1.117 trillion. This year’s predictions show brick-and-mortar growth in low single-digit growth, but growing nonetheless.
According to these numbers, it’s clear that shoppers are returning to stores, which means — if you want to boost your holiday sales — you need to start planning now. What should the first thing on your wish list be? Technology.
A Very Hybrid Holiday
Today’s shoppers have become very reliant on technology in general —and their smartphones in particular — to make informed decisions when it comes to planning their shopping trips and saving money. The pandemic created habits and expectations that point customers toward convenience, and those behaviors aren’t budging. What has evolved are hybrid shoppers who use technology to inform them of deals, provide coupons, check inventory and compare prices. Those same shoppers often choose to make their purchases in-store, with 90% of sales being completed in brick-and-mortar locations.
To deliver the experience that customers expect and to build valuable customer loyalty, retailers need to invest in technology that fuels convenience and savings, especially in times when budgets are tightest and deals define sales, like the holidays.
The first step for retailers who want to deliver on customer expectations is to find a technology partner that can provide solutions that give customers a seamless, omnichannel shopping experience while building loyalty through personalized communication.
By setting yourself up to entice and capture the loyalty of your customers, you’re not only positioning yourself for holiday success, but also giving shoppers the confidence to return year-round, knowing that you’re putting their expectations — and savings — top of mind.
Your Technology Wish List
What technologies should retailers focus on to maximize revenue and customer satisfaction this holiday season? Tools that provide convenience, savings and a seamless online-to-in-store shopping experience, connecting shoppers to their preferred retailers and brands in a personalized way.
Mobile apps rule the retail industry, and their adoption by customers is certain when they’re implemented correctly. A well-integrated retail platform that includes a mobile app can bring your store valuable loyalty, data and revenue, setting you up to succeed in the most competitive time of the year.
A robust loyalty program is going to be a win-win for you and your customers. Your shoppers want to be seen, and there is no better way to make them feel special than to direct content to them that’s personalized and relevant. Add in a rewards element, and you’re incentivizing them to return regularly, increase their basket size and spend more.
For retailers, the data and insights you can gain from a loyalty program are key to long-term customer relationships and beneficial to your bottom line. Real-time first-party data means better one-on-one personalization, leading to more engaged customers and increased sales. When your platform is built to help attract and retain new customers, you’re in an even better position to leverage the related data in your favor.
Bring on the Holidays! But First…
There’s no reason that retailers can’t make this holiday season their most successful yet. But you must start now. A recent survey of retail CEOs shows that 95% of retailers are looking to increase their tech capabilities to enhance their brand’s online and in-store brands. It’s time to move … and it’s easy to get started.
Technology partners like Swiftly offer retailers everything they need for a successful holiday season in a matter of weeks, with minimal investments. From plug-and-play solutions that work with your current systems, to customized apps and loyalty programs that attract and retain customers, solutions are available to increase your holiday offerings … and there’s never been a better time to take the leap.
Businesses rely on holiday sales to round out their year and boost their bottom lines. The window to update your technology is small, with most retailers having their tech locked in by early November. By partnering with companies like Swiftly, you’re getting ahead of the curve to meet customer expectations and setting yourself up for a happy New Year.