Business management over the holiday sales season
Unwrap your sales opportunities this holiday season
The holiday season in Australia is one of the busiest times of year. According to the Australian Retailers Association, last year saw retail sales in December grow by 7.5% compared to 2021, and contributed to a record holiday trade of $70.3 billion.
With such a bumper opportunity, we explore some ways to help you make the most of the holiday season and maximise sales.
Prepare for your peak period
Holiday season shopping seems to start earlier every year. An increasing number of Australians make purchases and buy gifts in the lead up to Christmas, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and on Boxing Day.
With a great deal of work going into a successful peak period, planning should start early.
To help get you started, review last year’s activity and consider what went well, and what could have gone better. Did certain products sell more than others? Where did most of your sales come from? Was it through eCommerce or in-store? And where did most of your customers come from? Also think about your own peak trading periods. Did you have very busy days? And if so, were there particular reasons for this?
Understanding your target market can help inform business decisions that offer the greatest value for your business.
With a good understanding of your customers and what they want, you can begin your holiday marketing in advance. This is the time to build brand awareness and engage customers. So you can focus on promotional activity and making sales during the season itself.
Now, also marks a great opportunity to help make sure you have the right payments technology, inventory and processes in place, to meet the increase in demand over the holiday sales season.
How to offer great experiences and operate effectively during the rush
Practising effective business management during the busiest times of year can certainly be challenging. However, it’s not always an easy time for consumers either. The Christmas period can be a stressful time of the year. This makes the experience you offer all the more important. Finding ways to help enable a smooth and seamless checkout experience for your customers can help you stand out.
Deliver great customer experience in the busiest times
Customer experience is paramount during peak trading periods such as Black Friday, Boxing Day and other seasonal sales. It can also be the deciding factor in whether a customer returns in the future. Learn more about ways customer retention benefits your business and how to create customer loyalty.
Below we breakdown some tips to help you provide the best possible customer experience.
Offer flexible payment options
It's important you offer flexibility with your payments solutions to help meet customer expectations during busy times. This could include:
- Online payments solutions
- Portable payments technology
Many consumers already make payments with their smartphones or wearable devices. CommBank discusses the importance of responding to consumer payment preferences. Their research in 2022, found over two-thirds of Australian respondents (69%) were so confident with digital wallets that they were comfortable leaving their physical wallet at home. And 31% of Australian respondents said they never use cash.
Reduce queuing and start queue busting
You can reduce the time customers spend at checkout with fast and reliable payments technology. Modern EFTPOS and credit card solutions can authorise payments in less than two seconds. Less waiting time can contribute to a positive buying experience and encourages customers to spend with you again.
Queue busting can help reduce wait times when operating on your own premises. It’s a customer service strategy that uses additional portable payments technology and staff to break up checkout lines for customers at the point of sale.
Take payments on the go
Compact and portable payments solutions are now readily available. This technology can enable you to manage transactions on the go. And provide you with the opportunity to capture more sales. For example, if you sell at markets or festivals, you don’t have to rely on cash.
Keep business operations running smoothly
Smooth business operations are essential to getting the most from the holiday sales season.
Digital payments offer convenience for customers. But they can also save you time by removing the need to handle cash or send invoices. You can also enjoy peace of mind from knowing your payments are processed on the spot.
The global management consultant McKinsey says payments are more than a business necessity. “Even the smallest improvement in payments performance can significantly boost the bottom line of a business.”
As your sales come in, you may also want to monitor your stock levels to keep up with customer demand. Staffing is another factor to keep under review. Adding an extra pair of hands at key times can help maintain a great customer experience and keep the sales flowing.
Engage customers after the holiday season
You’ve done all the hard work to capture sales and find new customers. Now you have the opportunity to keep them coming back as we move into the new year.
Keep customers interested with timely outreach. Take time to respond to customer reviews. Create targeted promotional offers for customers based on their recent purchases. And you may want to consider creating a loyalty program if you haven’t already.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of Telstra or its staff.
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