With year-end upon us, it’s easy to feel that the busy holiday shopping season – and top revenue period for retail profits – has already passed. Although Black Friday and the traditional holiday shopping season have come and gone, retailers can still “make hay” in the weeks that follow the holiday. When consumers stir from their holiday coma in January and inventory their loot, retailers will have a prime opportunity for revenue. Indeed, January could become the “new Black Friday” if retailers take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by the post-holiday sales period.
The order of the day? Retailers should: 1. look to convert returns into exchanges (or bigger sales); 2. build community; and 3. win over customers for the rest of the year. It’s really that simple.
Think about it: how many consumers out there are happy with every present they received? Not every garment is a fit, nor every gift a hit…More likely that shoppers will visit stores in January to return unwanted or duplicate items. Retailers can take advantage of this period to help shoppers find replacement products; they can also, in many cases, help shoppers find additional, complementary items.
Optimizing the returns season opportunity requires retailers to provide a seamless, superior experience – one that even grumpy, post-holiday shoppers making exchanges or seeking discounts will find satisfying. Few shoppers relish making in-store post-holiday returns, but retailers can improve this often-negative brand experience and maximize the revenue opportunities.
How? Change shoppers’ perceptions of the process. Retailers can do this by allowing shoppers to make an appointment to facilitate their returns and exchanges. From a consumer’s perspective, it’s appealing to know that a knowledgeable associate will be waiting to help answer questions and quickly find replacement items. This helps draw shoppers into the store, as opposed to exchanging online or simply settling for the original gift. Consumers will be happier knowing they will receive a high-level experience and get the item they really want (which, upon arriving at the store, they may not even know they want). From a retailer’s perspective, appointment-based returns increase the up-sell opportunity, bring in additional revenue and build brand loyalty with consumers that will last all year.
The moral of the story? Retailers should view the time after the traditional holiday shopping period as a chance for to increase retail sales. The January period has huge potential for in-store traffic, with consumers dealing with holiday returns and even possibly looking for that specific item they may not have received over the holidays. Retail scheduling software helps merchants make sense of the holiday return chaos and deliver the best experience for both shoppers and consumers.
Want to learn more? Stop by the TimeTrade booth, number 2235, at the NRF Big Show in New York next month. The team will be on hand to chat about how retailers can capitalize on “returns season” to get consumers what they need, build lasting relationships and make January more profitable than ever before.
Whether you’re at the show or not, be sure to follow @timetrade for all the latest from the NRF show floor.