Three expert tips for retailers at Christmas

Glynn Davis from Retail Insider

Christmas is on the horizon and the fact of the matter is – if you are only just thinking about preparing for the festive season then you are probably a tad late. However, for everybody else there are some general pointers that will come in handy in improving your chances of success.

There’s no disputing the fact that it is much more complicated trading across Christmas nowadays. Retailers have to deal with the peaks and troughs around Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all those other elements that now comprise the overall Christmas trading period.

Glynn Davis of Retail Insider shares his three top tips for fulfilment success over the essential final quarter of the year.

  1. Intelligently manage your inventory

With online orders the promotion of Click & Collect and the imposing of cut-offs and delivery premiums will be essential to ensuring success. It might be boring but management of fulfilment is now a key differentiator at peak periods. Start implementing these practices.

  1. Click and Collect is your secret weapon

Where many retailers fail is with the poor handling of C&C orders in-store. It should not be seen as an inconvenience by in-store employees – it might just be the secret weapon for handling the explosion in online transactions at Christmas if it is managed holistically across retailers’ entire businesses.

It must also be accepted that Christmas will result in mountains of returns. It is therefore vital that all retailers work closely with their third-party fulfilment providers and couriers. Everybody is on the same side, honestly.

  1. Keep customers informed through automation

With all aspects of fulfilment it is imperative that customers are kept informed of the progress of their orders. People accept mishaps as long as they have transparency of their purchases and are kept in the loop. A New Year’s resolution for all retailers should be to start working on automating some of the interactions they have with their customers including the use of chatbots.

These communications should extend into marketing. There really is no excuse nowadays for not employing sound basic automated follow-up emails to order placement, and for operating a programme of prompts to engage with lapsed-customers et cetera. Get these in place ASAP.

Most of these suggestions and recommendations are not really about the festive season. The fact is the deployment of good fulfilment principles and exemplary execution of orders is not just for Christmas. They highlight practices that should be implemented all year round.

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