Black Friday & Christmas: 5 Retail Strategies for Providing a Wonderful Shopping Experience
Black Friday is a huge opportunity for brands & retailers. In 2014, Americans have spent $50.9 billion during the 4-day Black Friday weekend* following Thanksgiving Day that is the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the U.S.. In Germany, 85 billion Euros were spent during the Christmas shopping time November and December 2014**. Some say that on “Black Friday” retailers begin to turn a profit, thus going from being “in the red” to being “in the black”.
Typically, retailers start preparations about six months in advance in order to get the best out of this season. Besides the yearly planning, retail organizations need to ensure they have a competitive end-to-end strategy making the switch from a retailer selling products only to becoming a truly customer-centric organization owning the customer experience. They need to drive their digital transformation, be agile, and streamline internal and external collaboration and workflows. Here are five strategies to help retailers provide a wonderful shopping experience:
1. Provide a seamless customer shopping experience
Create a unique and seamless, consistent, and integrated shopping experience across channels, in-store, online, mobile or catalog. A simple example: A customer wants to purchase a promotional offer in your store, e.g. a Christmas dress, but the right size is currently not available. No issue, if the customer easily finds exactly the same offer in your online store, with current and complete product information and high quality images or videos of the dress. An easy and informed customer purchase journey enabled by a true omnichannel strategy and supported by product information management (PIM) helps sell more products faster.
2. Avoid supply chain disruptions
Imagine one of your most important suppliers is unable to deliver what you ordered for the high season. A nightmare or are you prepared? As a retailer, you need to take a strategic approach to supplier relationship management as the success of your business relies on your vendors. Missing supplier information, bad supply chain visibility and no trusted view of suppliers can lead to bad decision making, missed market opportunities, high costs, slow time-to-market, and increased manual workloads. Informatica’s supplier relationship management application has a built in functionality to show you alternate suppliers in case you have a supply chain disruption with your standard supplier.
3. Great customer experience starts with great supplier product data
For a maximum of data quality and consistency and for streamlined collaboration with your vendors, standardize and automate operational processes and workflows, like data or supplier onboarding, reducing manual and redundant workloads. Provide a self-service portal to your suppliers. Within this portal, vendors should be able to provide not only their company information but – ideally within the same portal – upload new product catalogs including data quality checks and update product information to ensure the retailer always has access to the latest product information. For a trusted and consolidated 360 view of supplier and product information, leading retailers go for master-data fueled applications underpinned by multidomain Master Data Management (MDM).
4. Trusted, secure and connected data is key
Whatever you do, trusted, secure and connected data is key. It starts with a customer email or postal address and ends with specific product attributes like an allergen. If you don’t implement data quality rules in your digital workflows and processes, you will be lost. Data quality checks help avoid issues with unhappy customers: Address verification and standardization helps ensure accurate and timely delivery of Christmas gifts. Embedding quality rules for complying with GS1 industry standards even help avoid health or legal issues that could occur because of missing allergen information on a chocolate bar.
5. Ensure agility and fast time to market
Business agility is critical to successful delivery of business value, cost savings and an important driver of competitive advantage in retail. Retailers need to be able to quickly react to changing market requirements and deal with demand volatility, e.g., handle the uncertainty of how consumers will behave during the Black Friday and Christmas shopping season and accelerate time to market to meet consumer demands. Strategies 1.-4. help your business become more agile and increase operational efficiencies – not only during the most important shopping season of the year.
The ability to quickly adapt to changing business models through effective data management is key to survival and success. To learn more, I recommend the following downloads:
- “How-to Guide: 5 Data-Driven Challenges You Must Overcome to Strategically Manage Your Supply Chain”
- Solution brief: “Streamlining Supplier Management and Omnichannel Commerce”
It’s in your hands. Wishing you a wonderful shopping time.