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3 Comprehensive Retail Solutions to Boost Holiday Profits

Woman shopping over the internet

Preparing for the upcoming holiday shopping season takes a variety of comprehensive retail solutions, according to a recent Shop.org survey. Highlighted in an article on Shop.org, the survey describes how retailers are “investing in a multitude of site features and services,” such as mobile, to boost their profits at the end of the calendar year.

Here are three comprehensive retail solutions that retailers can take advantage of before the holiday shopping season heats up.

  1. Go mobile: In the Shop.org survey, more than half of retailers responded that mobile optimization for their websites will be among the most important investments they make this year. Mobile is also weaving its way into inventory management. For instance, sales associates can walk around with a tablet and immediately know what they have in stock at their store, as well as availability of stock in other stores within the retail chain. That way, if a product that a customer wants to buy is out of stock, an associate can reserve it at another store and arrange to have it delivered to their store for pick up or shipped directly to the customer’s home.
  2. Know your customer: Identifying retail point of sales transactions with customers is critical to gathering information about them. Retailers can then use analytics to determine customers’ interests and send emails tailored to their shopping preferences. For an added personal touch, retailers should consider using location technology to personalize mobile messages to customers.
  3. Offer free shipping, but not at your expense: According to a 2012 Google survey, nearly half of online customers will abandon their purchase if they don’t receive free shipping. This service can eat up profit margins, but over one-third of retailers in the Shop.org survey say they plan to address the issue by requiring a minimum purchase amount.

    Your profit margins and sales volume numbers are vital to understanding at what price point it’s best to offer free shipping. It’s all a matter of projecting demand if you offer free shipping versus demand if you don’t. For example, you might project that you’ll sell 100 items with free shipping, but only 10 if the customer must pay for shipping. A retail ERP system can provide the baseline information you need to make accurate calculations.

In the end, it’s important to do what’s best for your business. Some retail best practices might not be the right fit for your stores. Each retailer must test what technologies and strategies are best for them. A high-end retailer, for instance, is likely going to take a different approach than a grocer. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to planning for the holiday season.

Source: Shop.org, August 2013