The most wonderful time of year for retailers is just around the corner, but they won’t reap the profits of Black Friday weekend before first navigating an obstacle course full of potential pitfalls.
A projected 137 million consumers will shop between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, according to the National Retail Federation. As retailers move into crunch time, Retail Dive spoke with analysts about what lessons retailers can take away.
1. Buckling under outages
One of the most noticeable mistakes retailers make year after year is failing to adequately prepare for shopping increases online and on mobile. Ideally, retailers should start preparing in August and September, but stress-testing is better done late than never. Be prepared for outages not just over Black Friday weekend, but during any high-traffic days.
2. Letting the guard down on fraud
Fraudulent transactions have sharply risen in the last few years, especially over the holiday season, and many retailers have suffered by letting their guard down and prioritising sales over security. Retailers need a multi-layered approach to try to automate as much data review as possible to ensure protections are in place to verify shoppers’ identities.
3. Not having an omnichannel strategy
Shoppers aren’t just moving online: They want a fluid process that allows them to blend mobile browsing with e-commerce purchases, in-store pickup and many other options. Retailers have also failed to make mobile a priority, which can turn off shoppers from individual retailer apps that are difficult to use.
4. Failing to meet shipping expectations
Shoppers have come to expect a variety of perks from retailers, and shipping is at the top of that list, which has placed a strain on logistics systems in years past. Consumers now consider “fast” shipping to mean delivery within two days, and free shipping is increasingly important, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday survey of consumer spending intentions and trends.
5. Trying to do too much
Consumer shopping habits are changing every day, and many retailers are feeling the pressure to keep up on all fronts. But doing too much too quickly could end up hurting them.
“Retailers need to stay true to their brand ethos, and what is relevant with their particular customer,” Shelley E. Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at store analytics firm RetailNext.
(Source: Retail Dive)