Why retailers need to play favourites this Christmas

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Why retailers need to play favourites this Christmas
By using enriched data, retailers can identify their highest-value customer segments.
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Remember when our grocery store shelves were bare due to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions?

Well, instead of a short-supply of toilet paper this year, retailers now face a short-supply of the latest gifts, gadgets and white goods ahead of the busy holiday season. 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts there will be damaging and long-lasting economic impacts from this supply chain crisis that is likely to last for another couple years. What mostly started as a 'chip shortage', has now turned into a major global supply chain issue. There’s no one reason your package from overseas is taking an extended period of time to get to Australia because it’s been a perfect storm of factors contributing to the current global supply chain crisis. 

Because of the supply chain crisis, retailers have warned their customers to expect delays and stock shortages heading into Christmas. However, it’s crucial retailers ensure their limited supply is being sold to their most loyal customers this holiday season.

Prioritising the right customer

While the global supply chain crisis might mean that many retailers don’t have control over their inventory, they can ensure their limited supply is being sold to the right customers to maximise loyalty. There’s no doubt that loyal customers who make multiple purchases over the course of their customer lifetime will add more value to your business than one-time customers will, with repeat customers providing as much as 10x the value.

A loyal customer requires less overhead costs, improves the customer lifetime value (CLV) and reduces the customer acquisition costs (CAC) for the business. Given the current and extreme supply chain disruptions, retailers should consider prioritising orders placed by these loyal customers to strengthen and maintain that relationship.

By using enriched data, retailers can identify their highest-value customer segments and analyse the interests, lifecycles and purchasing patterns of these segments. These insights can then be used to build personalised holiday campaigns that engage these customers and lookalike audiences with relevant offers.

For items that are backlogged and waiting to be restocked, it’s important to guide returning customers to a waitlist so that they can be first in the queue once stock becomes available again. While this strategy forces some customers to wait, the supply chain disruptions are so impactful due to soaring demand that it would be next to impossible for retailers to satisfy all customers at once and communication is key. By pushing orders placed by these loyal customers to the front of the queue, retailers have the opportunity to solidify these long-term and more profitable relationships. 

It starts with service

Many retailers will anticipate high volumes of service requests related to holiday shipping and fulfillment, so start considering personalised responses using a workflow tool that consolidates all channels incorporating customer profiles and recommended actions to ensure that the service teams are well-equipped to efficiently and effectively serve, but also sell to customers when the holiday rush hits. 

As e-commerce sales soar, so too do customers' expectations. When it comes to online shopping, consumers have more options available to them than ever before, can get what they want online with one simple click and their motivation to choose one retailer over another is entirely dependent on the customer experience (CX). 

In the current supply chain landscape combined with the importance of delivering an exceptional CX strategy in an increasingly digitised world, it’s critical for e-commerce retailers to remain competitive and cut through the noise. To do so, retailers should use the customer data collected from digital touchpoints to deliver an enriched, end-to-end customer experience this holiday season.

Enriching the customer experience

Customer data and analytics gives you the ability to better understand purchasing decisions, make predictions about future behaviours and satisfy their needs with relevant communications and special offers. Not to mention highly personalised customer experiences can also drive higher profits, fight churn and increase customer loyalty, ultimately helping you to accelerate one-time buyers into brand advocates. 

This holiday season, use your data to evaluate the ways in which your customers’ purchasing behaviours and product-choices have changed throughout the last 18 months and contextualise your festive communications and inform your stock levels accordingly. This strategy will ensure customers feel understood and like a valuable asset to the company, while also helping to ensure popular items are pre-stocked to avoid products from selling out during the holiday season. 

With the pandemic having stretched supply chains to breaking point and experts warning that we’ll feel the effects until 2023, retailers must adapt and prepare for the new-normal of constant supply chain disruptions. This festive season, retailers should lean on enriched data to ensure they’re fulfilling the orders of their most valuable customers, while prioritising an exceptional customer experience that drives repeat purchases even once the Christmas rush is over.

Dave Whittle is CEO and co-founder of Lexer.

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