In the first of our two posts looking at the 12 Plays of Christmas for 2022, we ran through six quick wins that can help retailers boost loyalty and sales this festive season. If you didn’t catch it already, you can find some useful tips for creating short term success right here.
For this second post, we’re looking a little further ahead. While the chance to enact any major changes in time for this year’s celebrations is most likely gone, it’s never too early to start thinking about what you can do to maximise your performance next time around.
At its core, there’s the principle that the festive season is a great time of year to thank customers for trusting you as the partner to trust with getting the celebrations right. It’s a great opportunity for retailers to walk the talk and show real changes in-store and online that truly make customers’ lives easier during this period. Retailers can make customers feel part of the family, rather than just another basket receipt.
Let’s dive in, then, to the six strategic shifts shaping the second part of our 12 Plays for 2022.
Play #7: Festive segmentation
Understanding the differing needs of your customers is important at any time. At Christmas, when behaviours can change dramatically based on how people are planning to celebrate the holidays, a little insight can help you engage with them in a much deeper way.
At a high level, we’d argue that there are four main variables to consider to shape a new way to describe your customer: guests, hosts, planners, and last minute shoppers. With a good view of shopping behaviours from previous years, it should be possible to segment most customers into groups based on these variables.
With that done, a tailored and targeted activation plan can help you reach out to customers in a relevant and helpful way. Hosts who plan in advance, for instance, will almost certainly benefit from early comms on Christmas-specific products and ranges, while for the last minute guests, well, you can always create a last minute gifts area…
|“No, don’t worry – I have it all in hand. I have a delivery coming on the 23rd and I only have a few things left to add.”
Play #8: Christmas KVIs
Christmas in many households will be different over the next couple of years, with rising costs putting many wallets under strain. Knowing which products have a higher impact on price sensitive customers can help you take control of your price perception during this time.
The priority here should be on defining your festive season Key Value Items (KVIs). By identifying those products early on, you can narrow down your investments on price – ensuring that you’re being competitive where it truly matters most.
Whereas customers rarely remember pricing at a broad level, they do tend to fixate on KVIs and benchmark retailers based on what they see there. So, getting your KVI pricing right can give you a halo effect that stretches across the rest of your range.
|“I wasn’t going to, but the prosecco was so reasonable that it seemed stupid not to.”
Play #9: Customer-centric promotions
Every retailer wants to get more customers through their door at Christmas, and the best way to do that is to give them an indisputable reason to choose you over the competition. This is where your promotional strategy makes all the difference.
The best promo plans are much more than just a like-for-like exercise. Using Customer Data Science to explore factors like cross-elasticity and associated basket spend, you can getter a better understanding of how different promotions influence customer behaviours.
Taking this further, you can then zero in on the customers you want to win more of and which promotions work best for them, and stop any activity that benefits neither your customers nor your P&L. That even extends to the specific level of the discount you offer on key festive products like meats, wines, and confectionary.
|“Did you see the deal they have on? That’s way cheaper than I’ve seen it anywhere else.”
Play #10: Customer needs-based spacing
Customer needs are constantly evolving, and what matters one year might not necessarily be a priority the next. With that in mind, it’s only logical that the way in which you allocate space needs to evolve as well. Customer data is key here. As well as giving you a way to understand the effectiveness of your current spacing during a seasonal review, it can also help you identify the key need states to satisfy the following year.
Customer Priority Scores can then help you allocate an appropriate amount of space per category, understand key delists, and create room for innovation. A science-based approach to spacing can prevent you from leaving loyal customers behind as their needs change.
|“Do you have any other non-alcoholic beers in stock? Oh, that’s everything? Okay, never mind.”
Play #11: Festive recommenders
Low pricing on KVIs and well-planned promotions aren’t the only ways to attract more customers to store. Surprising them with relevant communications on the products they love and buy most during the festive season can help too.
Festive recommenders – a bespoke product list for each of your customers – can be generated by looking at what they bought last year in tandem with their usual purchases. Showing that you know and understand them is a great way to thank your customers for staying with you and make them feel special.
If you’re looking to go the extra mile, digital comms promoting new products that closely match their interests can also help, particularly if you combine it with an offer to sample them in store.
|“Oh look, they have a new party food range. We should get some in for New Year’s.”
Play #12: Exclusive innovation
Nothing generates buzz quite like limited edition products, especially when they’re only available from a certain store. If you’re looking to be seen as a festive destination, then exclusive innovation can help you stand out.
To deliver on that, you’ll need to know two things: the customers you want to win with, and the kinds of products they care most about. That information should help you identify which brand partners might be right to help you create an exciting new proposition.
If all that you want for Christmas is competitive advantage, then these “exclusive to…” products can help position you as a retailer that customers just have to visit at least once – particularly when a dedicated media campaign is used to help get the message out.
|“The taste of Christmas… in a crisp. Available for a limited time only from...”
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