It’s already clear that retail is headed for an especially high-stress holiday shopping season in 2022. With sustained inflation impacting multiple generations of target buyers and ongoing financial recovery from the decline of brick-and-mortar store shopping wrought by the pandemic, there is much to be anxious about this coming shopping season.
Estimates suggest that while US retail sales will grow 3.5 percent, this will be significantly less than the annual inflation rate, which could end up at a striking 10 percent. Additionally, prompted by these economic fears, buyers are more likely to shop outside of traditional holiday timelines and thwart retailers’ strategies.
So how can retailers combat these unknowns and promote success despite the unpredictability? A streamlined commerce solution built to reach customers at every step of their journey is a good first step.
Salesforce is the ideal home for managing, tracking, and optimizing your commerce efforts at any time, but it can be especially mission-critical during the hectic holiday shopping months. Here are three tangible ways you can leverage Salesforce solutions to better measure success as a retailer this holiday shopping season:
Monitor traffic and conversion online thoroughly
Any well-seasoned commerce professional knows that the keys driving success, whether in-person or online, are traffic, traffic, and… more traffic. The more eyeballs you get on your goods, the more likely you’ll be rewarded with the even greater sign of success: conversions. But measuring traffic and conversion success goes far beyond just watching the numbers (hopefully) stack up over time. It’s about constant optimization and a thorough understanding of every angle that could be impacting your traffic flow and conversion rates.
- Traffic: Don’t just view the count of website or in-store visits. Start analyzing the sources of those visits. Are people coming from organic searches, partner channels, paid ads, specific campaigns, or promotions? Which email blasts and headlines are driving the best traffic? Driving into these numbers with a thorough analysis of just what tactics are working best will help fuel your decisions throughout the season and inform your understanding of brand sentiment.
- Conversions: If you notice traffic is high but conversions are subpar, again, a thorough analysis of the numbers can often provide an answer to move forward with. Is the friction largely at form fills, guest checkout, selecting a payment option, or abandoned carts? Depending on your findings, this may mean you need to simplify order fields online or offer a guest checkout to expedite the journey for potential buyers. Maybe you need to include payment options not previously offered and allow shoppers to save their carts even after they’ve left the site. Or perhaps embedding more urgent messaging (inventory levels, how many other shoppers are looking at a product) will give you the lift you need for conversions. Analytics like A/B testing, heat mapping, visitor recording, and more can optimize these strategies for large rewards during the holiday season.
Commerce Cloud on the Salesforce platform provides retailers with the analytical tools to conduct all these tests and inform strategic decisions in real-time when every second matters for boosting traffic and raising conversions. With functionality tailored specifically to B2C needs, you’ll have plenty of options to reach your customers where they are.
Make a connection between your goals and backup plans
While your start-of-year goals and hopes for the holiday shopping season are still relevant… they may need some revision given what you know now. YoY growth and revenue goals set in January 2022 can make your actual 2022 holiday shopping results look worse than they really are when you factor in the updated landscape of global supply chain issues, price hikes, and prolonged logistics/shipping delays.
Your holiday shopping campaigns should come with their own specific KPIs and target numbers—not just serve as an end-of-year boost to reach start-of-year benchmarks. Take a look at the current circumstances and determine what success would really look like for your products in that scenario. From there, you can make clear, informed goals that are prepared for the worst of whatever global economic issues may occur.
Additionally, given the tumultuous economic swings of the year so far, it will become even more important to coordinate with your partners and understand their predictions and goals for the end-of-year shopping season. What potential challenges or gaps do your suppliers and manufacturers foresee, and how can you account for those in your retail and messaging strategy? Perhaps the best measure of success with these challenges is just how quickly your delivery and marketing teams can adapt to sudden changes in the supply chain or pricing. You can also leverage a partner community or portal through Salesforce to collaborate on contingency plans seamlessly and all your data easily accessible for critical decisions.
Keep the long game in mind with a retention strategy
Finally, some of the biggest long-term rewards from holiday shopping for retailers aren’t the sudden cash flow—it’s the potential for building long-lasting and repeat customer relationships. Retargeting and retaining after the peak shopping season is a great way to make the holiday season a success for your business as you sell your customers on more than just holiday promotions but also your brand’s social footprint, digitized offerings, and experience.
Both converted carts and abandoned carts are valuable prospects for tailored messaging post-holidays. Check in with any first-time customers or almost customers a few weeks after the dust settles and see if you can turn any of them into repeat shoppers or, better yet, brand ambassadors. Ecommerce retailers are especially primed to build a base of newly converted customers with digital-savvy skillsets that further sell your brand beyond the holiday season, and AI retail merchandising is the perfect way to personalize messaging for these types of consumers.
With streamlined processes and data cleanly organized in one customer-centric platform, retail organizations can thrive through holiday shopping madness on all channels—whenever it may hit you. If you’d like to implement some of these solutions, reach out to our expert team of Salesforce consultants to get started today.