The Key Holiday Season Dates For Retailers in Australia and New Zealand & How To Maximise Sales

Learn how to take advantage of all the key holiday seasons dates.

Christmas is the largest annual sales driver, contributing more than 45.3% to the total annual retail market. In the lead up there are numerous occasions throughout November and December - such as Click Frenzy, Black Friday, Cyber Monday - that provide opportunities for retailers to showcase who they are and what they do, to drive sales and engage with new and existing customers. Here is the list of key dates to build plans around:

  • Melbourne Cup - November 5th - In categories such as fashion, 70% of people buy with an occasion in mind. Fashion retailers are well-acquainted with the purchase-driving power of the Melbourne Cup.
  • Black Friday – November 29th - Originally from the U.S, Black Friday is now a growing initiative here in Australia.
  • Small Business Saturday – November 30th - Originally started by American Express, encouraging customers to ‘shop small’ and support local businesses.
  • Cyber Monday – December 2nd - Cyber Monday follows on from Black Friday, with a focus on online shopping.
  • Free Shipping Day – December 14th - The last day that customers can shop online with guaranteed free delivery before Christmas.
  • Super Saturday – December 21st - The last Saturday before Christmas (enough said).
  • Boxing Day – December 26th - One word: sales, sales, sales.

If retailers can embrace these occasions successfully, it increases their chance of attracting keen seasonal shoppers - and potentially turning them into returning, long-time customers. Based on our experience working with leading Australian & New Zealand retailers, here’s the three most critical areas to get right.

1. Optimise Your In-Store and Online Experience So They're Efficient & Engaging

Australian and New Zealand shoppers show a clear preference towards retailers offering an integrated bricks and clicks presence. This provides them with maximum convenience and efficiency to complete their purchasing journey by using both digital and in-store touch-points. Despite the growth of online shopping, Australians still prefer completing part of their buying journey in-store - especially for the big occasions. However, they’re combining that with online research to guide which store(s) they visit. Nowadays, two out of five shoppers abandon a sale because of a lack of cross-channel options to make a purchase.

Given that the festive season is the period of highest spend and complexity (with many gift decisions to make) for most consumers, providing such efficiency is crucial. This requires retailers to optimise their in-store experience to maximise the chance of winning the sale and building loyal relationships when shoppers visit. Ensuring your store, staff and systems are geared up to effectively engage customers, quickly provide recommendations and maximise named sales / loyalty sign ups it's critical to maximise sales and minimise abandonment (see this blog for more ideas). With a large number of casual staff in operation during the festive season, retailers need to provide them with intuitive, intelligent systems and technology to help bridge the knowledge gap.

You also need to ensure you are offering a unified online shopping experience that maximises in-store visits and eCommerce revenue. One survey by Deloitte shows that digitally influenced in-store purchases made up more than five times that of pure eCommerce purchases. In other words, it is now commonplace for in-store shoppers to research a brand or product online first. Research shows that 67% of people will browse a retailer’s site first, before heading to physical stores. Offering Click & Collect and In-Store Stock Check based on real-time inventory is one major way to drive such in-store visits. Australians shoppers adore Click & Collect for the reasons of ‘avoiding home delivery charges’ (45% of shoppers) and because ‘it is more convenient than home delivery’ (37% of shoppers). For online-sales driven events such as Click Frenzy, Black Friday and Cyber Monday there is still opportunity for retailers to turn these into in-store visit opportunities.

For both in-store and online, ensuring you have the right fulfilment options and that meet / exceed delivery speed timelines is critical during the holiday season. Fail to offer confidence that customers will get their goods in time and see your conversion rates plummet.

2. Ensure Inventory / Product Availability

During the festive season, with a long list of gifts to purchase and a short amount of time, shoppers are even less forgiving when it comes to retailers not having available stock. So, having the right product selection available and suitable inventory levels in each of your stores and channels is an obvious thing to get right. But it is still one of the most common failures we see in Australian and New Zealand retail.  Understocking and overstocking results in a drastic amount of lost sales.  The average retailer loses 4% of potential revenue due to 31% of customers buying products from other retailers when items are not immediately available for purchase (2).Those retailers who can exceed customer expectations and offer the quickest and easiest access to a selection of the best products to meet their needs, can secure a powerful source of sustainable competitive advantage in their category. The financial impact of increased eCommerce and in-store sales can be profound. Retail Express customers see an average of $120,000 increased annual profit per store by enabling such strategies. (Check out our free calculator to see how much you could add to your bottom line).

Retailers pursuing an Endless Aisles business model where each of their stores and channels is able to leverage all inventory across their entire supply chain are able to maximise product availability and choice, and optimise the fulfilment experience for customers.

3. Maximise Profiling and Targeted Marketing Before & After The Season

Now is the time for retailers to get their targeted marketing in order to drive online and in-store visits and maximise brand awareness. This needs to include digital advertising, social media and email campaigns along with in-store signage & visual merchandising. By using customer profile data, all of these campaigns can be personalised to account for a range of different demographics and product preferences. Maximising the capture of names and profiles of all visitors and customers that hit your stores (physical and online) during the festive season is critical for ongoing personalisation, loyalty programs and marketing to drive repeat store visits and maximum lifetime value into the new year.

There are a wealth of existing customer growth and loyalty programs you can engage in if key details are captured. Yet many stores still let shoppers walk away unidentified and fail to turn them into repeat customers. At Retail Express, maximising named sales is a top item on the agenda of the growth-focused retailers we partner with. Overall store and individual staff KPIs and incentives are designed with this front of mind. Having advanced CRM capability within your in-store Point of Sale system is pivotal to progressively profiling customers.

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