Across Europe Christmas gift-buying is gathering pace. British consumers spend the most per person on Christmas in Europe, according to Deloitte research, closely followed by the Spanish and Italians. All three nationalities spend well over the European average (€497) on gifts during the peak season, the statistics reveal.
While the pressure is on for shoppers, spare a thought too for retail staff on the frontline of customer service. They’re working hard to deliver fast, efficient service, while also helping create a festive buzz on the shop floor. What would make their lives a little easier at this crucial stage of the retail calendar?
Ease the pressure on Santa’s little helpers
With the gift of data insight, it’s possible to fully support store teams as they work through the gruelling Christmas rush.
Retailers that incorporate retail traffic data analytics into their operational strategy can give their teams and stores the edge in today’s competitive market.
Traffic and conversion data helps understand when the peaks and valleys in shopper demand will come throughout the days and weeks prior to Christmas. Store teams can be fully prepared to solve problems like bottlenecks at the checkout and unmanned dressing rooms, and to be operationally streamlined to meet the full range of seasonal shopper needs.
Customers enjoying a better service in-store, usually leads to higher conversions –making the store space more productive. Sales per Shopper (SPS) and Average Transaction Size (ATS) can be driven up with prior knowledge of retail traffic trends, because the store is ready for action when sales opportunities arise – particularly ‘power hours’, the crucial hours when traffic numbers peak.
The outcome of data-led planning is that shop assistants will be less stressed on those hectic peak days, they’ll enjoy their store roles more, and they’ll have a greater chance of hitting sales and conversion targets and – hopefully – securing their end-of-year bonuses.
Empower store teams to generate more conversions
With the right traffic data insights informing Christmas peak planning, it’s possible to have your best Christmas trading season yet – and your happiest colleagues.
For instance, they will know what happens to store traffic when there are four pre-Christmas Saturdays in December. They’ll be ready for the most critical ‘power hours’ on key dates like these, with extra staff serving and replenishing festive best-sellers. They will know exactly when click-and-collect servicing is likely to come under pressure, and what needs to be done to alleviate this.
If teams can focus on detailed action plans, in line with traffic forecasts, they will be prepared for anything, can have some creative fun with the way they work, and be able to reap the rewards of higher conversions.
Know who you need and exactly when
Enlightened retailers are benefiting from staffing schedules that have been adjusted according to historic traffic data, leaving nothing to chance. This reduces the risk of overly-long queues to pay, and disgruntled customers. Stores can schedule their best trained colleagues for known peak days and power hours, when conversion opportunities are plentiful. Store managers will use data insights to decide when it is best to use ‘marathoners’ and ‘sprinters’ for selling and serving. They can also differentiate ‘selling time’ and ‘store tasks time’, so that schedules are evaluated and optimised before the busy season sets in.
The beauty of being responsive to data
ShopperTrak Analytics, when dealing with real-time data, can help provide quick reads on the influence of seasonal marketing promotions on in-store traffic. From these insights, decisions can be made about the need to shift resourcing, adapt operations, or address stock availability during the high volume season. Again this makes life far easier for sales assistants on the frontline.
It’s also possible to benchmark store traffic performance against the local market. ShopperTrak’s Market Intelligence tool shows retail traffic data trends in various markets with the ability to drill down to localities that matter. Understanding how one particular store’s traffic compares to the local market is key to adjusting other efforts to increase your visitor count. Doing so means your store teams have the fairest chance of excelling during the festive sales push.
Remember post-Christmas is just like pre-Christmas
Of course, there is no real finishing line when it comes to Christmas. Stores may have a bumper pre-Christmas, but for most retail employees the whole circus starts again on Boxing Day when the Winter Sales kick in. Millions of shoppers will head back to stores to exchange unwanted gifts, spend their gift cards, and hunt for bargains. Luckily data insight can ease the pressure once again.
So, for a very merry Christmas, be sure to fully support your store employees with traffic data-led strategies, leaving them with sufficient energy to face New Year with a smile.
ShopperTrak helps retailers understand shopper behaviour patterns in greater depth, and plan for key calendar events like Christmas. Find out more here.