Although a great English poet once wrote, “April is the cruelest month,” most retailers would disagree. January is traditionally the most challenging month for retailers as consumers tend to be more conservative in their spending habits and shopping behaviors. But this January, smart retailers are finding ways to beat the post-holiday retail hangover with digital workspace solutions designed to boost January sales, encourage consumer engagement, and prepare their businesses for even greater success in the year ahead.
The annual survey of consumers conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights and Analytics confirms that retailers have a huge incentive to market aggressively in January. Nearly half of all consumers surveyed said that they were planning to shop in January to take advantage of expected in-store and online after-Christmas sales.
Smart retailers know mobility is the key to engaging this pool of potential customers and that, large or small, all businesses today are digital businesses. They also know continuing success depends on the quality of their digital workspace to maximize the consumer’s online and in-store customer experience.
Creating Sales Incentives
The personal information captured on a retailer’s web application provides a wealth of data for companies to use to reward their best customers. Retailers are using this data to create reward-based promotions in a variety of ways, such as
- Providing special, post-holiday deals or savings to the most loyal customers
- Offering and promoting products or services that complement purchases they’ve already made
- Creating a clearance category online that allows customers to browse through merchandise overlooked in December
Reinforcing these strategies for boosting sales, the NRF survey also revealed that more than 40 percent of consumers said that they were looking for a way to use gift cards they received over the holidays in January.
Building Digital Infrastructure
With mobility holding the key to a profitable year, successful retailers use the first months of the year to improve the integration between online and brick-and-mortar aspects of their businesses. While more than half of consumers use digital tools to pre-shop, the overwhelming majority of consumers still prefer to complete transactions in-store. Knowing this, smart retailers ensure their mobility solution includes features such as a great store locator, online access to in-store inventory, and strong support for a local SEO strategy.
Knowing that there are more than nine channels customers use already to connect with their business, savvy retailers also use January to ensure their communications exceed customer expectations by building out their omnichannel capabilities and infrastructure.
Taking advantage of the enormous credibility of user-generated content (UCG), smart retailers also launch online campaigns in January that encourage customers to share their great experiences on Facebook, Instagram, or any social media platform of their choice.
Improving the Customer Experience
Smart retailers know that when it comes to online shopping, there’s not much merchandise they sell that cannot be purchased online elsewhere. The key is creating a unique customer experience (CX) that differentiates how they sell what they sell. January offers the perfect time to focus on creating that better online shopping experience by ensuring that their CX is richer, easier, and more engaging than their competitors.
The New Year is also an ideal time for retailers to reach out to customers closest to them geographically. Smart retailers know that having a feel for their community leads directly to marketing and outreach ideas that feel natural to the customers in that community.
At the same time, the Internet makes every marketplace a global marketplace, and every retailer a potential global business. Taking advantage can be as simple as learning the dates of major holidays in country markets aligned with the retailer’s business—offering opportunities to boost customer engagement, not only in January but year round.
Keep the Digital Workspace Bells Ringing
Smart retailers and experts agree that the key to success in 2017 is to focus on developing the right digital workspace solution. VMware Secure Digital Workspace for Retail powered by Workspace™ ONE™ offers retailers the safe, secure solution that ensures customers will always enjoy the best possible CX when they engage with a business, anytime, anywhere, on any device.