How retailers can buck a downward 2018 trend
The retail sector in the UK has endured a pronounced decline during 2018, with a staggering 1,171 shops closed nationwide through until August.
Despite this, the nation’s retailers may be poised for a much-needed shot in the arm this Christmas, with consumers poised to increase their spend during the festive period. This is a familiar trend in the UK, with customers having spent a massive £78.7 billion during December last year against the backdrop of a challenging economic climate.
However, increased levels of spending also bring significant challenges for retailers, which must be managed successfully if they’re to achieve a profit. We’ve outlined some of these below while considering the most viable solutions:
Meeting your Customers’ Demands
Let’s start with the basics; as most retailers tend to experience a significant increase in demand during the festive period.
This can place a significant strain on your company’s output and delivery model, and if this is not accounted for or managed well it could impact on your ability to retain customer loyalty.
The biggest issue here is potential delays to delivery time-frames, which are often not communicated to customers until it’s too late. This taps into a prominent fear shared by customers in the digital age, while 59 percent of shoppers say they would abandon a retailer that failed to meets its delivery promises.
The key is to meet this challenge head on, by factoring in unavoidable delays and communicating these proactively to customers. This will ensure that customers can manage their expectations, helping to maintain a sense of trust and understanding in the process.
Increased Web Traffic
Almost all ecommerce sites experience a significant surge in traffic during the festive period, and this provides an opportunity for brands to optimise their turnover at Christmas time.
However, this means little unless your website can cope with the increased demand, as without this provision you’re more likely to lose business and customers on a considerable scale.
It’s therefore important that you pre-empt these issues, by coordinating any promotions with your hosting company and increasing your available bandwidth on a flexible basis.
This should enable your website to cope with an increased number of visits and orders, negating the risk of losing customers in the process.
3. A Lack of Delivery Options
As demand rises and traditional delivery channels such as the postal service become strained, you may struggle to offer the necessary options to customers.
This is a significant issue at Christmas time, particular as an estimated 70% of UK consumers are now demanding a diverse range of delivery options in the digital age.
With this in mind, you may need to reconsider your delivery model during the festive period, in order to offer as much flexibility as possible to customers.
Similarly, it’s important to communicate openly with consumers at this time, in order to explain any delivery restrictions and strive to deliver the best possible service in the circumstances.