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Hatching a Plan to Maximise Easter Trading

Easter is associated with warm sunshine and colourful flowers in many countries, and it’s a bright time for multichannel retailers too.  The festival generates a surge in retail activity in many countries, where Easter marks a public holiday. This extra time off promotes spending in sectors like DIY, furniture and homeware, and the food and fashion players are likely to see a welcome uplift. Stores in general experience a footfall improvement as consumers use the Easter break as an excuse to indulge in some retail therapy.

There are differences country by country of course. In Poland, consumer activity peaks on Good Friday and drops off dramatically on Easter Saturday, when the country hosts a special Święconka service – baskets of Easter food are blessed in a church service. Conversely, in Germany, stores are closed on Good Friday, and Saturday consumer activity is considerably higher than the usual Saturday average. Easter is also a big deal in the US, with a total spend of US$17.3 billion generated across the weekend.

In the UK, Easter continues to be the largest event in spring/summer retailing, worth an estimated £550 million in 2016, according to Mintel. Brits also love splashing out on chocolate, with the Easter egg market alone calculated to be worth £220 million.

So if this is the size of the spending opportunity, how can retailers guarantee a cracking Easter for 2017?

For multichannel retailers, Easter product ranges and promotions must be supported at each touchpoint, backed up with the right amount of inventory, adequate delivery resource and high levels of in-store staffing. And the point of sale system is a critical device for bringing these capabilities together around the customer.

For example, long queues in the run up to, and during, any holiday period are a massive bugbear for shoppers. So to avoid losing sales and loyal customers, it’s worth deploying a mobile point of sale system (mPOS) at the busiest moments. Waiting times can be managed if retailers invest in this mobile technology to ‘queue bust’ during peak periods. Processing transactions faster should deliver an immediate sales uplift, while also keeping customers happy.

As mobile point of sale technology can be deployed flexibly, several store associates can use the same device during the day according to their availability. Each mPOS unit can be taken to where the queue is – rather than forcing customers to move to a different part of the store in order to reduce their waiting time. This technology can also support up-selling and cross-selling, achieved by staff using mobile devices to engage more directly and in a more personalised manner with shoppers.

Bring products and loyalty promotions to life

With mobile store technology, sales associates can be automatically connected to rich product information – such as detailed descriptions, video demonstrations and customer reviews. Having such a versatile tool in their hands makes it much easier for front-line staff to answer questions that new shoppers might have about a product, to reassure them and increase their chance of converting.

Digital store technologies can also positively impact loyalty, bringing customer data direct to the store associate, enabling them to personalise offers and incentives around a shopper’s lifetime value and previous purchasing behaviour across digital and bricks-and-mortar channels.

How to have a cracking Easter

With Easter fast approaching, the number one priority for retailers should be to streamline the store experience. This means identifying potential ‘sticking points’, and equipping their customer-facing staff with technology like a mobile point of sale system to circumnavigate them. And investigating in the customer experience strategy now, retailers can get the customer experience right during the first peak trading moments of the year – so by the time the biggest customer traffic spikes occur during Black Friday and the build up to Christmas, store associates are more than ready to meet the challenges.

For advice and support managing your customer experience during peak trading and beyond, get in touch with iVend Retail.

CEO of CitiXsys Kamal Karmakar is widely respected as an innovator and expert strategist within the retail sector. Under his guidance, CitiXsys has established itself as a market leader in retail technology with a reputation for delivering integrated retail management solutions (iVend Retail) for the way retailers work today.

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