The introduction of the Spring season means that a few things are changing for consumers. Along with the warmer temperatures Spring brings, for retailers it also means helping consumers stock their homes and closets with new products after a rigorous Spring cleaning session. Retailers are expecting a .3% increase in retail sales over the coming months.
Spring also brings about prosperous holidays for retailers. Easter brings in an estimated $17.2 billion, followed by Mother’s Day with around $20.7 billion, and Father’s Day with $13.3 billion. Retailers can gain an advantage over the competition by offering consumers an engaging experience and developing campaigns meant to further enthrall consumers this season.
Here are 5 retail strategies that retailers can implement for major spring victories.
Modern consumers are more connected than ever before. Thanks to a global mobile penetration rate of 96% (and steadily rising), consumers are able to access their favorite brands at the swipe of a card or click of a mouse. Mobile innovations are progressing, and while globally only 22% of consumers will own smartphones, and only 6% will have tablets, retailers can still use mobile to interact with consumers. Retailers with target audiences in a regions where smartphones are less prevalent can still take advantage of sending out texts to engage consumers along with other more traditional channels.
Sending out seamless messages to consumers through all touch points lead to an enriched customer experience and can increase online and instore traffic. Retailers can also engage consumers through social media channels and send out strategic e-mail blasts to introduce Spring sales and new products to generate buzz about their brand.
How to leverage omni channel for maximum success: Spare no channel at first; you may find that a channel you hypothesized would lack success turns out to be the best possible method for you to reach consumers. Place emphasis on those channels that are guaranteed to have the most impact on consumers based on location and testing. Use footfall analysis to gauge in-store traffic and offer consumers engaging in-store experiences to ensure an active customer lifecycle. Connect with consumers via social media platforms and e-mail campaigns to introduce sales.
In other words, test every means possible and focus on the ones that work. Then use those channels to nurture and reward loyal customers.
Segmenting customers allows retailers to narrow target markets and enrich the customer service experience. Customers can be segmented by demographic or lifestyle; available variables provide you with the capability to break a given at-large heterogeneous customer audience into thousands of potential customer groups. Segmenting these consumers and tailoring campaigns to specific products allows retailers to engage consumers by providing a personalized experience that can lead to increased basket size through cross-selling and up-selling tactics designed to target specifically defined predetermined segments.
Customer segmentation also allows retailers the ability to evolve products or services based on target markets to increase purchase frequency and urgency. Knowing the specifics of a given group or customer class helps promote the development of new products based on hobbies and interests, which helps increase long-term customer loyalty. If a retailer is using demographics to engage consumers, they can adjust prices of products based on age of the average consumer and what area of town they are located. Retailers know that typically younger target markets are more economically conscious when it comes to the cost of an item. By assessing geographic location retailers are able to offer consumers the products they are most in need of.
How to leverage customer segmentation: Use geographic location to determine which products consumers need, and based on demographics determine price point. Apply this thinking to all aspects of your campaign, from offer to message to method or channel of communication. Segment with ROI and useful returns in mind; never segment beyond usefulness, but rather identify blocs of customers worth targeting and allot specific resources for methods that reach those customers.
#3: Use retail innovations to engage with consumers.
Retail innovations such as gamification and augmented reality are bringing in big returns when it comes to retail this upcoming year. The gamification market brings profits of around $2.8 billion dollars. While augmented reality is relatively new to retail it also allows consumers to experience brands on a much more holistic level. Augmented reality enhances the customer experience by allowing consumers to interact with a brand and generate positive reviews easily for companies. With mobile advances retailers are able to turn mobile devices into controllers to enhance the gamification experience.
Combining new technologies also increases your customer base. Coca-Cola offered consumers a chance to interact with their products and promote the James Bond 007 Skyfall film. The company saw a 10% increase from a cross-promotion with the film when Coke Zero placed vending machines on a UK train station that offered consumers a mission. They were asked to make it to the next platform despite pedestrian obstacles. Consumers who were able to accomplish this mission received tickets to the film.
How to leverage technologies: Tailor augmented reality to the product and behavior that make the most sense for your brand and customers. Integrate augmented reality with gamification tactics to increase customer loyalty and take advantage of new technologies. Integrate these tactics you’re your actual loyalty programs by making games a requisite of earning rewards and loyalty points. Combine channels to enhance augmented reality and gamification by using mobile technology to interact with consumers. Create purchase urgency by putting “sunset clauses” on deals related to prizes. Also focus on the data; engrain data collection steps into the process and leverage that data for future consumer outreach.
Sales are a time-tested way to move older merchandise and make way for new products. By offering sales on Winter items, retailers can get consumers to visit both brick and mortar and online sites as well as get returns on merchandise that did not otherwise move. Once these consumers are in your store, offer them a personalized experience combined with up-selling and cross-selling techniques to encourage them to purchase both winter and spring items, effectively increasing cart size.
Loyalty program members should be introduced to sales and promotions that are outside regular store hours. Opening up an hour early or later to showcase the latest spring trends to these loyal consumers not only prolongs the consumer lifecycle but increases word of mouth advertising. This method can be utilized in a digital sense, too, by allowing customer specialized coupon codes, informing them of hidden landing pages accessed via special links and other under-the-radar sales channel routing. Regardless of method, by offering sales, retailers enable these consumers to become brand advocates; 84% of global consumers believe recommendations on brands from family or friends.
How to leverage exclusive sales and promotions: Stay up to date on trends. Specialty discounts and promotions will catch the eye of your average consumer especially well if you weave the price decrease seamlessly into your overall business strategy and marketing campaign. Plan out the entire “path to the basket” prior to launching the discount, too. Determine what kind of traffic best serves your bottom line and what it will take to get there. Regardless of what you choose, implement a loyalty program if you don’t already have one. If you do have one, consider tweaking it.
Modern analytics are beneficial to retailers because they offer insights that help create engaging customer experiences. In addition, analytics can be used to enhance the operational efficiency of a company, decreasing unnecessary spending. Retailers are then able to use these savings to lower costs for consumers, who in turn spend more. These cost effective solutions enhance the customer experience by offering quality products at the lowest cost possible or boosting service when it matters most to consumers. This opens the door to multiple potential market positions for your brand as well as multiple tactical approaches to increasing the potential of engaging prospective customers.
How to leverage data analytics: Implement a CRM and POS system to capture consumer data. Forecast purchasing, inventory needs, and customer preferences. Incentivize your customers with discounts or the option of joining your loyalty program. Once you have gathered enough data, perform analysis from a customer lifecycle perspective. Segment if necessary, but mainly watch for the holistic set of dynamics that drive Spring shopping and hopping in general. You should come up with somewhat timeless info about your customers as well as insights on the latest trends.