3 Things All Retailers Need to Do to Get Ready for the Holidays

holiday-retail

*Written by Angelica Valentine

It’s time for things to heat up in retail as we get ready for summer and the famed holiday season. There are a few things retailers need to do in order to set themselves up for success.

  1. Rethink Pricing

How are you priced compared to competitors? If this question makes you panic, then gaining competitive insight needs to be a priority going forward. Market Price Index is a metric that explains how your prices stack with a competitor’s at a high level. It also breaks down by category and brand to get a more in-depth view.

It is measured on a one point scale, so a score over one means that you’re that percentage higher than a competitor. A score under 1, say 0.91, means that your prices are 9% lower on average. Of course, a score of 1.0, means that your prices are equal. These metrics give you a clue into whether your current pricing strategy is as effective as it could be. If your score is lower than all competitors’, consider raising them as long as you can sustain demand. If you’re a bit higher, stay put if your demand levels are satisfactory or test lower prices to see what impact they can have on your conversion rates.

Not all products have the same impact on your bottom line. Luckily, MPI takes into account your sales volume and gives best selling products a higher weight than a seasonal product that sells well only three months out of the year. This keeps your score true to your specific selling trends.

  1. Evaluate Shipping Policies

Shipping costs are both a big expense for retailers and a big deterrent for online shoppers. So what’s the solution? Get in tune with your data to find out your average order value (AOV). If your current free shipping threshold is lower than your AOV, raising it would be a great opportunity to encourage shoppers to spend a bit more.

Amazon raised its threshold by $14 in February. Maybe that’s too steep of a hike for you to consider, but the behemoth is teaching consumers that they have to spend more to get coveted free shipping, so why not continue the trend?

  1. Ask for Feedback

Customers are vocal about their experiences on your site. You have to anticipate feedback of all kinds whether it’s delivered via email or live chat. Encourage feedback on your store often to fine tune your store’s functionalities before the holiday rush.

This means you have to keep an ear to the ground and listen in to your shoppers’ desired channels of communication, especially social media. If a customer has a bad experience with your business and complains about it on social media, they’re giving you a bad name for all of their friends to see. Neutralize these complaints by acknowledging, responding, and correcting them in a timely fashion.

Sending out surveys is another way to receive constructive feedback on your store. Offering an incentive like a discount or a gift card can encourage feedback. Send these surveys out either in email receipts or standalone emails. If customers feel strongly about an aspect of your store, they will voice that opinion and you can incorporate it into your strategy and improve your business going forward.

Conclusion

It’s never too early to start planning to win during the 2016 holiday season. With some pointing to Amazon’s launch of Prime Day in July or Walmart’s holiday layaway in September as the official starting point of the 2015 holiday season, the one thing we can all agree on is that it has been starting earlier and earlier every year. Those retailers that wait will get left behind, so get the ball rolling now before it’s too late.

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Min-Jee Hwang

Min-Jee is the Marketing Director at Wiser, a dynamic pricing and merchandising engine for online retailers. She has extensive experience working with SaaS companies and holds a BA from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from NYU Stern.