Within just a few weeks, we’ll be in the midst of the month-long holiday shopping frenzy. While many shoppers are just starting to look for great deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers will have been preparing for the busy holiday season for months.
Easy access to retailers online via computers, smartphones and other connected devices has transformed holiday shopping over the past few years. Digital is no longer a small channel for consumers – 2015 marks the first time online shopping outpaced traditional shopping during Black Friday weekend, with 103 million online purchases and 102 million in-store purchases. Shoppers want access to great deals at any time from anywhere and as a result, retailers have been making significant investments in the customer’s digital experience, ensuring that it is seamless across channels.
How can retailers keep pace with today’s digital savvy shopper? It requires more than great frontend experience for consumers; retailers need to rethink the way they create and sell products on the backend.
Here are a few pro tips for retailers preparing for success during this holiday season and beyond:
1. Develop products when consumers want them, not because of the season: To help stay ahead of shopping trends, retailers should be looking at consumer wants when they actually have them, rather than waiting for a specific season. Instant gratification is the expectation today (think two-day shipping), so waiting till a certain time of year to create certain types of products could be a losing bet.
2. Match your backend to your frontend: Retailers are investing billions of dollars in customer experiences on the frontend, but are relying on antiquated approaches on the backend. Getting a single product into the hands of a consumer usually involves thousands of emails, hundreds of spreadsheets and countless presentations. With the billions of products flowing in and out of stores during the holiday season, it’s important for retailers to streamline operations in advance of this crucial time. A single, easy-to-use platform to manage the backend process can speed time to development in a big way.
3. Crowdsource your ideas: In today’s connected world, the pace of information sharing in our personal lives is extraordinary – but the same can’t be said for B2B retail inspiration. Retailers should tap their entire retail communities (designers, suppliers, etc.) early and often to gather information and share as many ideas as possible so they can get the right product to the right customer at the right time.
Learn more about why retailers need to change the way they shop to be successful; read our blog post Retailers, Your Next Imperative: Change the Way YOU Shop.