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4 Things Retailers Should NOT Do this Holiday Season

Unless you live under a rock, you are probably aware that it’s crunch time for the holiday season. Black Friday is only a couple of weeks away, and everyone is talking about how you can prepare for the big day, and the weeks that follow. But, before you take off sprinting for the top spot this holiday season, we want to do a little bit of damage control for you.

You’re probably close to being all set up for the holidays, armed with statistics and tips to get the most out of the season. Sales are expected to increase by 8-11% from 2013, but don’t let that get to your head. We all sometimes forget the basics when we’re stressed out, so we’ve put together four things to NOT do this holiday season.

Don’t Put All Of  Your Presence Under One Tree

This holiday season, customers are going to be looking forward to the beautiful decorations in their favorite retail stores. Tinsel, Christmas trees, and wreaths will be complementing the shopper’s wonderful in-store experience. While these decorations are important to remember, don’t neglect your other selling channels. Approximately 66% of customers use their mobile phone to access more information about a product while in-store. Make it simple for them, and be sure that platform is easy to navigate with high-quality images and concise (but informative) descriptions.

Mobile made up 25% of Black Friday 2013’s online traffic. It’s growing in use every year, requiring the same amount of love you would devote to your brick and mortar store. But don’t forget your desktop site. Desktop eCommerce spending was a record $46.5 billion in 2013, a 10% increase from 2012. Give each of your selling channels the same amount of attention they rightfully deserve, because they’re all going to be utilized by shoppers this holiday.

Don’t Ignore Social Media

As you probably already know, social media has revolutionized the 21st century, radically changing the way consumers interact with businesses. Companies can now respond to angry customers directly, or announce promotions or sales at little to no cost. Don’t forget to use social media to your advantage during the holiday season.

Social media has a great reach that can often rival print or tv advertisements, mainly because most people access it every day. Hard to believe, right? Well, 74% of customers rely on social media for help with purchase decisions, providing you with an awesome opportunity. You don’t even have to do all of the work on social media. When consumers share your posts, many take that as an endorsement on behalf of the consumer. Approximately 81% of customers are influenced by friends’ posts, therefore neglecting social media is definitely going to be a mistake this holiday season.

Don’t Be a Scrooge

While the holidays do bring plenty of joy and happiness, they also bring stress to a lot of customers. As a retailer, you have to understand the pressure many shoppers fall under, and be calm and helpful (even if they’re screaming at you over the phone). Customer service is always important, but it really comes to light during the holidays.

When people have a bad customer service experience with a company, they will usually take their business elsewhere and you don’t want to lose any potential revenue. According to a report by Accenture, 66% of customers switched businesses due to poor customer service. On the other hand, approximately 70% of consumers will return if you resolve their complaints, and 86% will pay extra for good customer service. Unfortunately, only 1% feel that sellers consistently meet their expectations. Stand out from the competition with consistently top-notch customer service that keeps shoppers coming back.

Don’t Engage in A Price War

It’s the holidays, and you know that shoppers will be looking for the lowest price. Sales and low prices will be everywhere, and it will be tempting to match every low price you see. However, this can lead to a price war and cut into your profit, depleting your margins. So draw a line, sign a treaty, do whatever it takes to avoid engaging in pricing warfare.

One way you can avoid price wars is by adopting a dynamic pricing strategy. A dynamic pricing strategy will result in price changes in accordance with fluctuations in demand, competitors’ prices, and more. You can set rules using repricing software to keep your price from cutting into your margin. Together, dynamic pricing and repricing software will keep you competitive and profitable, without engaging in price wars with competitors.

There you have it. Now that you’re armed with what to do and what not to do this holiday season, you can start slinging products like Santa on Christmas Eve. The holidays are a great time to emphasize what you do well, and improve the areas where you may be lacking. Make the most of the holiday selling season and let us know what other tactics retailers should avoid and consider this holiday season in the comments section below.

Contributing Writer: Brian Smyth

Arie Shpanya

Arie is the former COO, Executive Chairman, and Co-Founder of Wiser, a dynamic pricing and merchandising engine for online retailers and brands. He has extensive experience in business development with a focus on eCommerce (eBay and Amazon), and is a guest blogger on Econsultancy, VentureBeat, and more.

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