The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Three Ways Your Australian Business Can Maximize Peak Retail Season
When you have a retail business in Australia, you may rely on e-commerce, brick and mortar stores, or a combination of both to drive your sales. Either way, you’ll be looking forward to the potential growth in revenue that tends to come with peak retail season. Across the many channels by which businesses reach their consumers, there will be many ways by which you can sharpen your competitive edge in time for the surge in volume. Here are three essential practices to consider implementing.
Analyze and review data
Before the peak season starts, begin to review and analyze the historical data for your business. You should also look into overall historical trends for your industry. Drill down with your analysis to view reports on customer demographics, order placement channels, individual and group item sales performance, and other factors.
With this analysis in hand, you can better forecast demand for the upcoming season and plan your strategy. You’ll be able to identify opportunities to capitalize on trends and fulfill the needs of your customers. This could also be the chance to resolve any previous issues you may have encountered with suppliers or logistics partners struggling to handle the seasonal load.
Improve website performance
Recent trends for Australian e-commerce are showing very high activity during seasonal fluctuations. An estimated 15% of all Australian e-commerce transactions were made during a roughly month-long period in 2018 coinciding with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and multiple end-of-year sale events.
This sort of spike in online shopping translates to increased web traffic. Is your website built to handle the load? No e-commerce business can afford downtime or slow loading times; it hurts conversion rates, creates shopping cart abandonment issues, and, worst of all, gives users a bad experience – they may not consider coming back to shop again.
As you prepare for the spike, have your team work on optimizing your website for the additional volume. Make sure the back end is properly provisioned to handle the extra load; your server may offer favorable rates for additional bandwidth, storage, RAM, and CPU allocation. Implementing a lazy loading design on your site can also help improve the speed and responsiveness of your website for the end-user.
When you’re in the middle of a busy season, the added business volume can place increased demands on your staff. More people need to keep their eyes on your website, track and follow up order fulfillment, and perform the analytics to assess sales performance and marketing ROI, among others. Too much strain can cause reliable employees to become overworked and underproductive.
You may want to consider hiring temporary staff to fulfill specific needs or cross-train your existing personnel to provide cover for complex tasks. This gives your team redundancy and flexibility to deal with the greater workload. Another option would be outsourcing. Repetitive tasks and customer service can be handled by an Australian call center with agents in the Philippines, for instance. You’ll be able to streamline and cut costs while ensuring quality English support for your customers through various channels.
While seasonal volume is great for physical retail stores and e-commerce alike, you should always manage the desire to maximize growth and revenue with the focus on providing a great customer experience. That will keep your customers coming back for more in times to come.