With less than a month until Christmas the festive retail market could best be described as challenging. The latest consumer confidence survey by ANZ - Roy Morgan suggests most consumers remain cautious about their spending plans this festive season. And, despite personal tax cuts, 38 percent of those surveyed in November said they were worse off financially than a year ago. So now, more than ever, it is essential that our advertising and marketing is effective. Businesses need a return on their investment and to do this they need to be talking to the right audience. It's time to stop shouting, start listening and really get to know your target market. What does your customer really want in a product? What motivates them? What is the best way to communicate with them? And how do they want to interact with you? Trying to appeal to everyone is a waste of time and money.
New customer profiling and segmentation tools can help you to really understand your customers and allow retailers to build a relationship with the people who really matter to their business.
Most customers are time poor and Christmas can be a particularly stressful time. Every year shoppers leave their Christmas shopping until later and later. Traditionally, the busiest months were October and November. But now the majority of Christmas shopping takes place in late November and December.
Today’s consumers expect a very flexible buying experience. The retailers that are most successful this Christmas will be the businesses who make it easy for their customers. Recent research by the Australian Centre for Retail Studies (ACRS) shows remarkable growth in cross-channel shopping; people are increasingly using two or more points of contact with a retailer to research and make their purchases. An NCR Corporation global poll of 8,500 consumers found that 80 percent of shoppers are more likely to do business with a company which offers flexibility to interaction via online, mobile and self-service channels.
According to the ACRS study an increasing number of retail sales are being influenced by the web. By 2012 the research predicts that nearly 40 percent of all retail sales will be influenced by online searches. The retail market is changing and we need to change with it.
Forrester research has revealed international online retailers now take more than 40 percent of our online retail market. That's market share we cannot afford to lose.
- David Nation is the general manager of sales and marketing for Reachmedia, a multi-channel marketing and communications company which specialises in the retail market.