Retail & Distribution
27 July 2023
The buzz is in the air as retailers gear up for the peak trading season, also known as the “golden quarter”. But this time around, they face the major headwinds of a cost-of-living crisis and talent shortages.
To capture consumer spending during this pivotal time, retailers must lay the groundwork for success. Enter “The Plan for Peak,” an insightful feature recently published in Drapers, which delves into the best practices and insights for mastering peak season, featuring Beth Butterwick, CEO of Jigsaw, Touker Suleyman, retail entrepreneur, investor and TV personality and our very own Alan Holcroft.
The Importance of Peak Season Preparation
“The Plan for Peak” emphasises the significance of early preparation. Retailers must recognise that peak season demands meticulous planning well in advance. From forecasting demand to optimising inventory, understanding customer behaviour, and fine-tuning logistics, early preparations are vital to ensure a seamless and profitable peak season.
Data-driven forecasting emerged as a central theme in the feature. By leveraging advanced analytics and historical sales data, retailers can gain valuable insights into customer behaviour and predict demand patterns accurately. Armed with this information, retailers can make informed decisions about inventory management, replenishment, and resource allocation during peak season.
Strengthening Inventory Management and Supply Chain
To prevent stockouts and overstock situations, retailers need to optimise inventory management and strengthen their supply chain. Building strong partnerships with suppliers and having contingency plans in place for unforeseen disruptions can help ensure a smooth flow of goods and minimise delays during peak season.
In the feature, Alan emphasises the need for a real-time, single view of stock to achieve the perfect harmony of inventory placement. He highlights the predicament faced by many retailers dealing with stock spread across multiple pools. Simplifying this intricate puzzle, Alan champions the concept of a unified stock pool, a strategic move that holds the key to maximising sell-through.
Crafting Personalised Experiences
In a competitive market, customer engagement and personalisation play a pivotal role in driving sales. The feature highlights the importance of tailoring marketing efforts to specific customer segments. Leveraging customer data, preferences, and purchase history allows retailers to create targeted promotions and offers that resonate with their audience, boosting customer loyalty and maximising revenue.
Elevating the Customer Experience
During peak season, a positive customer experience becomes a differentiating factor for retailers. By channelling resources into customer service training, optimising website performance, and empowering store associates with mobile devices equipped with real-time customer data, product information, and inventory updates, retailers can elevate the customer experience and make every interaction feel tailor-made. Retailers should prioritise customer satisfaction to foster long-term relationships and encourage repeat business.
The feature emphasises the role of technology and automation in streamlining operations during peak season. Implementing advanced inventory management systems, AI-driven customer support, and automated order processing can significantly improve efficiency and reduce manual errors, enabling retailers to handle increased demand with ease.
At Cegid, we’re also seeing a rising demand for task management solutions that enhance operational efficiency and empower store associates to focus on serving customers better. Many retail operations leaders struggle with multiple apps like WhatsApp and Microsoft Teams to track tasks for each store. To achieve true operational excellence, retailers are turning to solutions that consolidate all tasks into a single app. Task management solutions like Cegid Retail Store Excellence offer unparalleled visibility into store performance, fostering seamless collaboration and efficiency. With fewer apps to manage, store associates have more time to dedicate to customers, elevating the overall shopping experience.
Learning from the Past: Post-Peak Analysis
Once the peak season is over, it’s vital for retailers to conduct a post-mortem analysis to identify successes, challenges, and areas to be improved. This analysis should inform future peak season strategies, allowing retailers to refine their approaches and ensure continuous growth year after year.
Peak season presents both opportunities and challenges for retailers. Proper planning and execution are essential to capitalise on the increased demand and achieve business success. “The Plan for Peak” feature provides valuable insights into mastering peak season by emphasising data-driven forecasting, efficient inventory management, personalised customer engagement, and the strategic use of technology.
By understanding the key takeaways from this feature, retailers can create a robust plan for peak season, delivering exceptional customer experiences, and positioning themselves for long-term success in the ever-evolving retail landscape.
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