Economic uncertainty and changing consumer behaviors are exposing a complicated reality. For retailers, it’s never been more important to deliver excellent customer experiences alongside competitive prices on in-stock products. But even in a best-case scenario, a major shift in consumer sentiment is likely. What does that mean for retailers as they prepare for the 2022 holiday shopping season?
What’s pleasing is that retail sales have been on a record-breaking run in the first half of this year, so as we enter the all-important Christmas trading quarter – there’s strong momentum. Consumers have continued spending in the face of cost-of-living pressures, however the concern is that we haven’t seen the full impact of the RBAs interest rate increases wash through the economy, and that we may see a softening of sales as we head into 2023”
says Paul Zahra, CEO, Australian Retailers Association
As companies try to drive profitable growth by optimising their promotional calendars, they’re asking one question: How can we attract new shoppers and keep existing customers coming back for more? This year, retailers will focus on developing data acquisition strategies, bridging the physical-digital divide, and building stronger business partnerships. But on a larger scale, they’ll need to put as much investment into the post-purchase experience as they do the path-to-purchase, pairing test-and-learn strategies with proven revenue drivers like flash sales and special promotions.
“Christmas is when most discretionary stores make up to two thirds of their profits, but success is not guaranteed in the current environment. Businesses will have to double their efforts to ensure their offers are compelling, customer interactions are seamless and that their supply chain and logistic networks are resilient to the demands of the Christmas shopping rush.
Supply chain disruptions and supplier price increases are still problematic in the industry with no clear end in sight. With staff shortages a pressing issue, even before the holiday trading season, retailers are having to plan much earlier than they normally would in terms of recruitment to ensure their Christmas workforce can meet demand” continues Paul.
The only thing that’s changing faster than consumer preferences is the economy. As retailers look to efficiency and automation to drive profitability and prepare for spikes in demand, they need to be ready for anything.
The challenge? Creating a winning holiday strategy takes more than introducing curbside pickup or posting on Instagram. This year, success means a robust first-party data strategy, a seamless customer experience across physical and digital channels, and associates who are empowered to serve customers efficiently. In short, retailers must prioritise flexibility and convenience like never before. And that means putting the customer at the centre of every decision they make.
Here, Salesforce share the insights and strategies you’ll need to prepare for your peak demand events, from the holiday shopping season to door-busting special events.