Top tips for retailers preparing for key shopping events
The experts at Hallmark Consumer Services are accomplished in helping retailers to plan ahead and prepare for the key dates on the retail calendar. Here we share a few of our top tips and advice to ensure you are geared up well in advance.
Retail events are a great opportunity for retailers to maximise sales, boost profits and attract new customers, but in order to make the most of these key dates, thorough planning and careful consideration of the resources required is essential.
Key events to plan for
The key dates that retail businesses need to think about have evolved in recent years. In addition to traditional events such as Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc, online retailers can also take advantage of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day (July). Lower-key events such as Small Business Saturday and Green Monday may also be an opportunity for some retailers.
Regardless of which dates are on your radar, planning well in advance is a must to ensure your promotions and events run as smoothly as possible.
Hallmark’s top tips for retailers
Planning your offers and promotions for key retail dates should begin as early as possible, but ideally a good six months in advance and should form part of your marketing strategy for the whole year.
Consider your resources
Do you have adequate storage facilities for the additional stock and packaging you’re likely to need ahead of each event? Do you have enough staff to process increased order volumes and customer queries?
If you don’t already work with a fulfilment partner, such as Hallmark Consumer Services, you may need to consider outsourcing certain elements of your business to help you effectively manage peaks in demand and ensure service levels are not compromised.
Identify your call to action
Look at what you’re asking customers to do around these key events and then ensure you are well-prepared to fulfil that action. For example, if you’re encouraging them to visit your website by offering an online exclusive promotion, then your shopping platform needs to be user-friendly, fully functional and able to handle an increase in traffic. If your customers need to telephone to place a personalised gift order, then you need knowledgeable, competent staff to take the calls.
Communicating your call to action to the relevant people as early as possible will help ensure you have the right resources in place to run a successful promotion. For Hallmark clients, our experienced contact centre team receives full training about their products, and understands their promotion and customer expectations ahead of key events so that they can deliver the highest quality of service.
Ensure your stock control procedures are well managed
Not only do you need storage space for additional stock before a key retail event, you also need to ensure it is well managed, replenished and is easily accessible to meet delivery expectations so as not to reduce the customer experience during busy times. If you work with a fulfilment partner, you should check well in advance that they are able to handle additional stock and have tight stock control procedures in place.
At Hallmark we have a huge warehousing facility and can seamlessly handle large volumes of stock that needs to be turned around quickly.
For retailers using Amazon to fulfil orders, on Prime Day for example, Hallmark can help you get your goods in to Amazon on-time and through their strict goods-in processes.
Robust returns policy
With an increase in order volume, it is reasonable to expect an increase in returns. You must therefore have a robust returns policy in place to handle this and help ensure the customer experience remains positive. There are actions you can take, however, to minimise returns and streamline your returns process so that quality of service is maintained during peak retail periods.
How Hallmark can help retailers better prepare for key shopping events
Hallmark’s account management team provides clients with regular updates on key events, when they should begin preparations, and keeps a keen eye on any new consumer shopping trends and habits, to help smooth any peaks or troughs.
Our sophisticated reporting system also allows us to accurately forecast future sales to help you plan better for key retail events.
By outsourcing your fulfilment to Hallmark and sharing your plans with us early on, we can ensure that we have sufficient staff, storage space and packaging to fulfil your orders during peak promotional periods without compromising on service quality. We can also arrange extra transport to help you keep your delivery promises.