How retailers can maximise the Christmas retail opportunity

With all predictions pointing towards a bumper festive season, now is the time for retailers to ensure their store is ready to meet the needs of a savvy consumer seeking a customer experience that excites and delights.

So let’s look at how smart technology works in retail, including what constitutes a smart store and how you can go about creating one.

Couple going down escalator in shopping centre, Christmas time
December 16, 2021

Stock on hand

One of the greatest bugbears for any consumer is arriving at a physical retail outlet only to find the item they seek is out of stock.

That issue becomes even more frustrating when they have researched the product online before-hand and the internet indicates the item is available in a specific store.

This year ongoing supply chain issues mean retailers will need to be even more vigilant about their inventory tracking and stock counting, and they will need to ensure accurate inventory is maintained across the omni-channel retail experience.

Tools of choice to manage this include RFID, which allows retailers to track products through the supply chain and count stock in real time in store, along with analytics that offer an insight into product demand, and on-shelf availability sensors that alert staff when a product is running low.

Loss prevention also plays a key role in inventory management, with shoplifting a major factor in unexpected out of stocks.


Theft prevention

On that note, theft prevention is critical throughout the busy period that leads up to Christmas. Retailers should ensure all their loss prevention strategies are up to par.

retail opportunity - theft prevention

This includes:

  • Educating staff on the key signs of shoplifting and protocols
  • Protecting items at a product-based level using EAS
  • Employing secure, yet interactive, displays for high-value items
  • Maintaining good store layout and lighting
  • Rostering on additional staff to manage the increased foot traffic


Extra staff

Staff play a key role in the physical retail experience, with their product insight and knowledge being one of the main reasons consumers embrace bricks and mortar retail.

That means staff should be primed and ready to provide a truly amazing customer experience throughout the festive season.

To assist, retailers can draw on traffic counting to track trends in retail foot traffic to ensure they adequately staff their store.

Meanwhile, staff members should be up to speed on all the latest products, their availability and any cross-merchandising opportunities.

They should also be furnished with technology that allows them to provide a stellar customer experience.

Tools to consider include mPOS, which allows them to gain instant insight into product availability, and cut time spent in the queue by processing transactions on the sales floor, and smart keys which allow staff to swiftly access cabinets and stock drawers.


Alluring displays

Christmas display

In physical retail, half the battle is luring a customer into your store, which is where great layout and enticing displays are a must.

Many retailers will also be banking on the sales of their big-ticket items such as electronics, mobile phones, IoT devices and televisions throughout the festive season in the knowledge this is the period where they enjoy up to a third of their annual sales revenue.

In fact, a survey by Australia Post found almost one in five people is planning on purchasing electronics as a gift this year.

Key tips for creating an appealing store include interactive displays that allow the customer to engage with products like smart phones and devices, while planogram compliance will be a must for big-box electronics retailers.

Our suggestion for tools that assist with this include the InVue range which accommodates secure yet interactive displays, insights and analytics, and compliance tools such as TV Manager.


Click and Collect

The Australia Post survey also found a quarter of people will be shopping for presents in the final four-week lead-up to Christmas.

This means services like express delivery and Click & Collect will be in high demand. Retailers need to facilitate this effectively, drawing on staff, inventory management, and a seamless pick-up experience.

To understand how this festive season is predicted to shape up for Australian retailers, see here.