The three-month window from October to December, known in the retail industry as the Golden Quarter, is a crucial period for sales. The new 2019 Golden Quarter report by Aptos, a commerce solutions provider, has identified five areas that retailers should capitalize on in order to maximize their sales performance this holiday season.
Brick-and-mortar is still expected to dominate over e-commerce, with the 2,000 U.S. shoppers surveyed reporting that 58% of their purchases will be made in-store. Retailers can take advantage of this by utilizing in-store promotions to draw crowds; 82% said that special offers would entice them to visit a physical location. Aptos recommends that retailers carefully monitor inventory during this period to avoid customer disappointment and maximize promotion performance.
If an item does become unavailable, the survey found, 50% of consumers would start looking elsewhere. In order to minimize this, Aptos discovered that a positive experience with a sales associate could salvage these sales; as the survey says, 80% of U.S. consumers would first turn to an associate for an alternative fulfillment option. By offering to have an item shipped directly to the customer’s home or locating the nearest store with the item in-stock, a retailer can satisfy 66% of respondents.
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Store presentation is also important for keeping customers at a location. Some 42% and 36% of shoppers, respectively, cited messy displays and overcrowded stores as reasons to leave. By leveraging employees to maintain a tidy appearance during busy shopping periods, retailers can improve the in-store experience. Convenience services like “buy online, pickup in-store” and click-and-collect can also win over customers; 53% of U.S. respondents said they expected to use these methods during the holiday period, up from 47% for the rest of the year.
Ultimately, however, price and product selection are still among the most important factors. The Aptos report found that 63% of consumers would leave a store for a better price, while as many as 83% would leave if a retailer was slow to market with new merchandise. While interactive, experiential retail has been trending in the industry, only 24% of respondents said that technology-based experiences, such as augmented reality, were important to them.
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