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The guide to post-holiday reflection and future preparedness

Turning lessons learned into actionable strategies.

The holidays have come and gone, and retailers everywhere are sighing in relief.

While the holiday season is a time for joy and celebration, it can also be a time of stress and frustration for many retailers. It’s an age old story, long checkout lines and out-of-stock inventory lead to irritable, frustrated, and fed up customers that may make that trip to your store their last.

Even though the holiday shopping is finally over, the scars it left still run deep.

But there is good news on the horizon. With the turning of the calendar brings an opportunity for retailers to reflect, and use the (hard) lessons that were learned from previous holiday seasons to make improvements for the future ones. 

With only 330 days to go before Black Friday 2024, it’s time to keep the momentum going and start the preparation now.

So, let’s take a look at the top holiday pain points and the actionable strategies you can take now to turn frustration into delight.

The challenges of the holiday season

While it’s uncomfortable to think about, it’s important for retailers to reflect on the challenges they faced in the holiday season, rather than forgetting them in order to move forward. By thinking about the overwhelmed stores, the store systems that keep crashing, and the customers who vowed never to return, retailers can pinpoint where things went wrong and start to strategize how to fix them.

Let’s take the two most common pain points highlighted above— long checkout lines and out-of-stock inventory. 

Many stores only have enough floor space to host 2-4 POS terminals, which seems like plenty during the slower seasons where they may only need 1 or 2. Fast forward to Black Friday and the 4 available terminals need to service about 30 customers waiting in line in addition to the dozen customers still walking around the store. On average, customers expect checkout to take 5 minutes or less, and when that doesn’t happen 77% of them won’t come back.

Inventory issues are also a huge pain point for many customers during the holiday season. While people understand the season’s hottest items sell fast, that doesn’t mean they’re okay with walking out empty handed, especially if it’s a gift. 

These challenges can take a toll on the customer experience and their satisfaction with the brand, but also on the store teams. Retailers may feel stressed and overwhelmed, and they may not have enough time to provide the level of customer service that they would like to, resulting in more frustration. In addition, employees who are feeling stressed and overwhelmed are more likely to make mistakes, which can also lead to customer dissatisfaction.

This can lead to customers taking their business elsewhere, which can have a negative impact on the retailer’s bottom line. 

It’s a vicious downward spiral.

A path to redemption

So, now that we have recalled the challenges, let’s work towards a solution.

Investing in mobile in-store technology is a great place to start. This can include mobile POS systems, endless aisle inventory solutions, and other technologies— like clienteling– that can help improve and personalize the customer experience and make it easier for employees to do their jobs. 

Mobile POS

Mobile POS systems allow employees to take payments and process orders anywhere in the store, which can be especially helpful for busy stores or stores with large footprints in general. Because the units are mobile, stores can easily scale up or scale down based on the immediate need. This can help to reduce checkout wait times and improve the customer experience.

According to a recent survey, 42% of retailers are prioritizing enabling mobile transacting via mobile POS. This indicates that retailers are increasingly recognizing the importance of providing customers with an efficient and convenient way to make purchases, driving the competition in the checkout space.

Endless aisle

The top in-store mobile technology priority at 63% of retailers are mobile endless aisle solutions. Endless aisle inventory solutions can help stores keep track of their inventory and make it easier for associates to help customers to find the products they are looking for. An omnichannel inventory visibility lets associates locate where out-of-stock product is— either at another location or online— and omnichannel ordering ensures that they can get said products into the customer’s hands even without them in-store.

Retailers need to keep up with their customers whose shopping journeys are trending increasingly omnichannel. Typically, the journey begins online with discovery, research, and price comparisons. Then, customers venture in-store to test products- feel them, try them on, and ask questions. At this point they’re ready to make a purchase, so it can be discouraging or even insulting to be told they need to look online. Omnichannel inventory and ordering makes it so that never happens and they leave satisfied.

Clienteling

By enabling just mobile endless aisle and POS, retailers make shopping during busy periods efficient, convenient, and even enjoyable for customers. Additionally, staff who are properly equipped to handle an influx of shoppers are able to add more value to the customer experience through 1-on-1 attention and personalization— which can be achieved through investing in clienteling solutions.

54% of retailers are prioritizing mobile clienteling solutions that enable their associates to create memorable and personal moments and aid in customer capture. Personalization is vital for the customer experience according to 80% of consumers, so everything retailers can do to ease the burden on their associates to provide it to customers is critical. Mobile clienteling solutions let associates stay by the customer’s side throughout their in-store journey, make recommendations based on the 360-degree customer profiles, and send personalized follow-ups. These practices help the customer see the retailer as a personal shopper and valued advisor that stands out among the rest.

Planning for the future

Before you know it, Black Friday will be upon us again, so now is the time to start planning and implementing the technology to make it run smoothly. 

This proactive approach positions retailers to navigate challenges, meet customer expectations, and ultimately improve their bottom line.

Contact us today to learn more about Tulip’s mobile-first, cloud-based, omnichannel POS and the #1 Clienteling solution in the world that is loved by the industry’s top retailers.

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