With the Easter weekend on our doorstep, many retailers are preparing for the potential surge in customers during arguably one of the largest annual sales spikes a retailer can expect.
Easter typically ranks as the second highest grossing holidays on the South African retail calendar. Easter eggs are not the only profitable commodity during this time, many consumers use public holidays for their general shopping convenience. According to research, consumer activity often increases prior to the Easter weekend and continues into the week thereafter, resulting in the possibility for a two-week spending splurge. This offers a great opportunity for retail businesses to increase profits, but only if they prepare their businesses for the additional strain placed on both cashflow and operations.
Understanding the demand
You’ll be forgiven if your mind immediately jumps to chocolate bunnies and egg-filled baskets. Statistics confirm that there is a higher acquiring of basic foodstuffs and clothes than there is of gifts or confectionaries around the Easter period. This is very important for all retailers to take note of because after you take your focus off the chocolate eggs, you’ll notice that consumers are also looking for other merchandise. Research shows that in the U.K., similarly to the South African market, there is an increase in the demand for home improvement and DIY stock requirements. Many South African consumers use the long weekend to spring clean, garden, and work on other home improvements to prepare for the upcoming winter.
Here are 6 ways for Retailers to make the most of the Easter rush
Sales and discounts still draw crowds. Getting potential customers to walk through the door means you’re half way there. Once they walk into your store, you want to make sure that they leave with something. Make sure the layout of your store encourages customers to browse more and in turn, pick up something they didn’t know they needed. Be sure to also have your discounts and loyalty programs pre-programmed into your POS system. The last thing you want is a massively long queue when it comes to paying.
Lay claim to surrounding space to advertise. Make sure that any outlying area around your store is used for additional advertising. This is a great time to approach your landlord to lay claim to added outdoor or foyer areas. All additional displays, especially outside of your business, will create more awareness and could assist it maximising Easter sales.
Because of the school and public holidays over Easter, consumers are more prone to spend money. More time off leads to more shopping, more travel, and more entertainment expenditures. Capitalise on this by ensuring that your merchandise is well stocked, your customers are advised in advance of any specials or promotions that you are running and that you are operationally geared up to handle the increase in sales.
Although in-store shopping has decreased by a significant percentage, the convenience of online shopping has allowed consumers to do their shopping from the comfort of their homes. Shopping online allows your customers to avoid long queues, busy malls and additional frustration caused on the roads. Promote specials online, offer the option to order online or try offering a delivery or a basic e-commerce app for your customers. Don’t lose your regular customers to the influx of visitors, every sale counts. Not having many feet through your store door doesn’t mean that people aren’t buying, they’ve just found alternative ways to do it.
Increase your payment points
Many retailers rely on one or two fixed points of sale to service their card paying customers, so queues can quickly lengthen through busy periods. Mobile Point of Sale (MPOS) technology is a new and innovative way to prevent a bottleneck at the tills. Retailers can quickly and effortlessly use an alternative point for payment when queues get too long.
Moreover, the portable nature of MPOS devices mean that retailers can utilize the device at any point within the store, meaning that customers don’t need to wait in long queues to pay for their purchases.
Let’s not forget the post-holiday blues
The same effort exerted to ensure that your business capitalizes on the commercial potential of holiday shopping, should be the same effort exhibited during the post-holiday period as well. Research suggests that businesses can experience up to a 25% rise in sales directly after a public holiday, in comparison to the two weeks prior to it. Don’t let the panic of a potential surge in consumers cripple you. Prepare
Being prepared is half the victory
Make some notes that you can refer to next Easter. Record important things such as what your customers are buying, peak trading times and days, things that went well as well as areas of improvement – like requests for stock that you are not offering. If you need some guidance from previous years, speak to another established business owner in the area and ask for his or her thoughts and advice.
These will help next Easter, when you’re once again ready to make plans. With time, things will get easier and more manageable. Looking back over previous Easter periods, trading patterns can reveal vital details on when your store is likely to be busy, enabling you to put measures in place – such as increasing workforce or cashflow – to ensure customer service standards and demands are upheld.
So, whether it be a new dress, a few items for the family picnic scheduled after the hunt, waterproofing a leaking roof or to stock up the cupboards for the post Easter blues, there is huge scope for increased sales during this holiday. Make sure that you and your business are geared up to manage customer’s demands over this time.