Don’t Give Up The Holidays To Your Competitors
Perhaps three phrases that sum up our market-aggressive, retail-centric holidays ahead: "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men, and Batteries not Included.”
If you are as experienced regarding our ebbs-and-tides as I am, especially listening to trusted researchers, you will conclude we are at the cusp of a profitable retail holiday. Of course as expected, Black Friday specials and discounts rolling through Cyber Monday are starting in early November as announced by several big box stores.
It’s energizing to participate in this most important fourth quarter of retail- it's energizing as long as product management and merchants have aligned for aggressive hunting, pricing and selling versus mature competitive armies. As the Department of Commerce just posted, U.S. retail sales enjoyed a positive gain of .4 percent in the month of September with our Consumer Electronics industry leading the way in its largest gain since April 2013 at .7 percent.
Although the fourth quarter is all about specials, discounts and holiday cheer, I remind all that the retail value drivers will outmuscle retail profit drivers from the perspective of hungry shoppers armed with mobile smart tablets and phones. As demonstrated in my last Dealerscope.com article (“The Drastic Retail Basket”) consumers have a higher propensity to add product and profit into the brick-retail basket than within their cloud-retail basket shopping experiences. As the most recent NRF (National Retail Foundation) report states 40 percent of all holiday shoppers will purchase online, Omni-channel retailers need to balance their revenue intentions by balancing greater profit balance between their brick and cloud offers. Savvy retailers will over-rely on brick-retail traffic to protect overall profit-forecasted intentions at all costs.
Further, the NRF forecasts retail sales to increase this year by a marginal growth of 3.9 percent with the average shopper spending $738 on gifts and seasonal items. As I have been stating and according to Shop.org, online and mobile holiday sales are forecasted to increase 13-15 percent for 2013. The NRF also reports 40 percent of all surveyed will shop online seeking, shopping early and often. And within our Consumer Electronics industry, the CEA announced on Nov. 1 that total retail sales for the holiday season through the end of December will increase 4 percent over last year reaching $738 billion in total revenue. During this same period, they predict online sales will reach a new sales record of $57 billion dollars growing 18.7% versus last season.
With respect to holiday sales momentum, the following four of ten recommendations from Gen One Ventures ensures your most profitable holiday baskets. Trust me, if you do not energize these highly competitive triggers quickly your competition surely will, surely is:
1. Be More Social Than Your Competitors: Retailers as well as manufacturers must aggressively promote (through the holiday season) and emotionally engage through each and every relevant social media outlet. When consumers see (holiday themed) creative engagements, price promotions, value adds and caring engagements through their social networks they will react and share with friends and family the emotional brand and product opportunity a retailer kindly affords them. It is any retailer's choice regarding how and where they will push consumers to engage, to purchase. At the same time, it is any consumers choice to ignore or socially deploy holiday retail offers, whether in the cloud or in the physical store. To win this holiday season, be more social than your competition both in the brick and in the cloud.
2. Capitalize On These Days Or Your Competitors Will: We are approaching uncertain, yet highly profitable cyber-sales days during the next 60 days according to ComScore. All retailers and manufacturers should be firing off dedicated cloud promotions with each retailer and independently through their own publishing vehicles. SEO (search engine optimization opportunities may still be available for these periods) is the second best weapon of competitive choice to capitalize on holiday sales. Of course first will always be optimizing retailers smart publishing models. The following days are retailers and manufacturers last, most important and fertile e-commerce opportunities for 2013. Remember, capitalize on the 9 biggest days for e-commerce sales according to ComScore or your competitors will:
• Tuesday, Dec. 4, $1.362 billion.
• Monday, Dec. 10 (Green Monday), $1.275 billion.
• Tuesday, Nov. 27, $1.263 billion.
• Tuesday, Dec. 11, $1.220 billion.
• Friday, Dec. 14, $1.219 billion.
• Thursday, Dec. 13, $1.135 billion.
• Monday, Dec. 3, $1.117 billion.
• Wednesday, Nov. 28, $1.110 billion.
• Wednesday, Dec. 5, $1.051 billion.
3. Energize Your In-Store Experience Or Your Competitors Will: Each and every retail store location needs to enlist and super-charge the most creative, interesting in-store experience, right now! Not flat holiday signage, rather service-entertaining and creatively valued daily breakthroughs. The free promotional power of consumers communicating their retail experience to an average of six social network friends is cashiered holiday advantage. For every impactful holiday experience in a physical store, 10 to 15 local friends will find out along with an additional six through relevant social sites. Remember, turn up the holiday energy in-store or your competitors will.
4. Mobilize or Your Competitors Will: The power of mobile marketing for the holidays is the power of smart geo-location apps that offer deals, promotions, reward points, coupons and the passion- energy of right offer, right time, right location. According to a recent PriceGrabber survey, 31 percent of smartphone consumers have shopping related apps onboard while 82 percent intend to engage them during their holiday shopping. Profit spike your retail baskets and consumer satisfaction by connecting with apps like Shopkick and other smart retail apps for in-store selling opportunities. Connect with apps like RetailMeNot designed to drive consumers to your physical store as they walk through the shopping mall. Consumers want fast holiday deals, especially relevant to their physical location in the heat of their shopping intentions. Drive traffic to your physical stores and e-clouds through smart mobile marketing, or your competitors will.
We are well under way to our biggest revenue and profit days we collectively call retail holiday sales. Mature retailers and manufacturers had all their holiday planning, promotion and traffic drivers complete 4 months ago. Holiday investments, best product and promotion bets are all tucked in and ready to run. It’s okay to be a little late to the holiday party as long as you get the point, or in this case 4 points and activate them very quickly. Remember, there is no need to give up the holidays to your competitors. There is only the need to ensure your greatest competitive advantage is realized through smart retail holiday cheer.
Peter Weedfald is president of Gen One Ventures and author of Gen One Ventures