5 Tips to Wrap Up More Sales This Holiday Season
If you needed evidence that online shopping is more popular than ever, record-breaking Cyber Monday sales makes the case. Consumers want deals, and they're just as happy to log on to get them.
In consumer research studies this year, my company identified that price sensitivity is up 75 percent across all income levels compared to 2012. Fifty-six percent of consumers shop where they can get the best price.
So price is clearly king this holiday season. But retail success can't be achieved by simply slashing prices. You want to make sure you're strategically attracting customers now, while preserving margins and setting yourself up for a more prosperous 2014. Here are some tips on how to accomplish that:
1. Integrate your in-store, online and mobile experiences. Your customers see your brand as one shopping experience, so make sure it is. They'll check your prices online. Let them order online and offer "free delivery" if they pick up purchases in-store. They'll check your competitors’ prices while they're in your store if they think they can get a better deal elsewhere. In fact, showrooming is up 400 percent over 2012, so wise retailers are starting to offer price-match rebates.
2. Make deals and promotions easy to understand. Our research reveals that gift-with-purchase offers, gift cards, coupons and other promotions don't perform as well as prepaid card incentives. What do prepaid cards offer that other promotions don't? Simply put, lowest net price advertising. And that price is what changes shoppers’ behavior.
3. Don't forget about print advertising. Omnichannel pre-shopping research is part of savvy shoppers’ paths to purchase. Our research shows that 80 percent of consumers look for deals before shopping. And they're looking everywhere — circulars, print ads, online and even asking their personal networks.
4. Use deals to drive loyalty. Smart promotional strategies will create opportunities to collect customer data, including email addresses and social media opt-ins. Acquire customers this month with great deals, then reach them later with loyalty messaging such as exclusive offers and special events.
5. Offer discounts large and small. Loss-leader discounts are a common practice across all consumer industries. A smarter strategy is to offer "free" products after a rebate. These deals will definitely drive online and in-store traffic and generate additional sales. Plus some shoppers will choose not to redeem their rebates. Drop prices on key low-dollar gift items and stocking stuffers, price competitively on the rest of the list, and watch baskets fill up.
Consumers want the best price, and the holiday season is no exception. The good news is that people are still shopping. It's time to make sure they're buying from you.
Rodney is Head of Marketing, Brand Partnerships at LTK. He has over 20 years in retail marketing and research as a founding principal in global ad and marketing strategy agencies servicing top retail brands and products. He also founded a CPG company sold through retail channels and served as CMO and head of strategy in three consumer incentive companies servicing the retail industry.