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Another Black Friday in the books! We hope all you busy retailers found at least some time to breathe during the past few days of craziness, especially when – despite the fears of a recession – this Black Friday still set a new sales record for ecommerce.
At $9.12 billion, 2022 saw a strong kick off to the holiday shopping season with online sales 2.3% higher than last year. And though the numbers are still coming in, early reports say that in-store sales were up 12% year-over-year on Black Friday.
All this is great news to retail brands who have been looking forward to a strong holiday shopping season to shore up their revenue for the year. Yet the influx of new shoppers and new dollars also mean that there is a whole lot of work to do after this initial surge.
The winter shopping season is just beginning, and the savviest retail brands are already leveraging their customer data to continue to boost their sales, and making smart moves to take advantage of their increased business. And with shoppers willing to travel into stores more than in the past few seasons, there’s a lot of work to be done to elevate the shopping experience to earn more repeat business.
Ready to get to work? Finish that last mush bowl of Thanksgiving leftovers and let’s dive into the four things your retail brand should do right after Black Friday 2022.
1. Make New Customer Data Actionable
With the influx of new purchases from existing customers as well as new customers in general, both your brick & mortar stores and online shops have been pouring new data into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. All this first-party data is worth its weight in holiday gold, but only if you can organize it all.
The sooner your team can clean and organize your customer data, the sooner you can start remarketing to your customers in the midst of the shopping season. And while a robust CRM will do most of the data categorization and sorting for you, there are extra steps to take to truly make the data actionable.
For example, segmenting your new customers is the key to more personalized and targeted marketing messages and product recommendations. Online shoppers may be automatically tagged by your CRM, but in-store shoppers will need a manual touch from your sales associates. Be sure to instruct your team to enter in all relevant customer notes into your CRM, apply appropriate tags, and log any purchases that were not captured.
Being able to see what new customers purchased during Black Friday weekend can help you see trends in the items pulling in new shoppers. Likewise, capturing the products that are purchased as intended gifts can inform you of what items should take center stage in-store, near check out.
Spend time cleaning up and organizing your customer data in your CRM. Good data will make it easier to analyze the next actions to take in the upcoming weeks of holiday shopping.
2. Analyze Your Marketing Channels
According to the Forbes article linked earlier, it was a very omnichannel retail shopping weekend. Customers were shopping online, in-store, ordering online and picking up in-store, and ordering in-store to have items delivered. Retail brands that can effectively leverage marketing across all their channels tend to do well when customers have such a variety of options.
This is why your team should take this time to analyze your marketing channels to see which campaigns were attributed to the best sales, and especially the integration of offline and online data. If, for example, a customer viewed one of your Instagram stories that resulted in them purchasing a product in-store, that’s the type of omnichannel retail marketing attribution you’ll want to capture.
The best way to do this is, well, long before Black Friday. Having tracking in place on each of your marketing campaigns makes it much easier. However, one way to do this after the fact is to send out customer surveys to ask how they found your brand, or where they first saw your products. If possible, incentivize them to answer your survey with some discount codes.
Your sales associates can also ask customers as they come in, and make it a part of your support team’s script to ask customers (after having helped them with their needs) where they might have first encountered your brand. A human element when making the ask usually brings in a higher engagement rate.
Of course, a good CRM can automatically track attributions as conversions come in. So be sure to manually add any in-store feedback to your CRM and see which marketing channels you should be spending more on as the holiday shopping season continues to stay busy.
3. Start Clienteling by Following Up
With new customers coming through your physical or virtual doors, it’s never too early to start clienteling. Taking a proactive approach to personalized customer service right after Black Friday weekend can continue and strengthen a relationship that was first started at the checkout counter.
Keep in mind, today’s shoppers are always looking for a more personal experience. Lead with helpfulness when reaching out to your customers over email or SMS like providing helpful tips on the specific products they purchased, or a simple “how was your experience?” note. You can even experiment with offering a new customer a promotion code to be redeemed in-store for those who are local to one of your stores. Your CRM should be able to segment new customers by zip code.
Willing to commit more time? Offer a free virtual personalized styling session with new customers. Mobile/remote clienteling options open up with the right technology, and you can nurture solid customer relationships even if they don’t leave their house.
4. Elevate the Returns Process
If there is anything sure in life, it’s that your stores will see a slew of returns in the coming week or two. While returns is an aspect of retail that might be a hassle, it pays dividends to invest in the process to make it a great experience for customers.
Research shows that “72% of consumers say a simple return experience makes them more likely to shop from a merchant again.” And 89% said that they would be less likely to shop at a retailer again if they had a negative return experience. A simple, easy return experience plants the seeds for repeat business, and shows an elevated customer experience that shoppers will remember.
Also, returns are an excellent chance to upsell customers who come back into your stores. By asking them what different item they might be searching for, or suggesting a bundle of products instead; your team can increase the Average Order Value of a customer even if they return their original purchase.
Think through your current returns process and see how you can both simplify it for your customers, and where you can add in upselling opportunities for your team.
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