The last quarter of the year is the busiest and often most profitable period for online retailers.
Peak started much earlier in 2020, and according to experts at Google, it is predicted to start even earlier this year. This shopping behaviour has an important impact on strategic planning and decision-making. With this in mind, now is the time to lay the groundwork for peak, even when immediate day-to-day demands eat up your time.
During this peak, sales are predicted to reach never-before-seen levels. Not only does this require an operational bandwidth on a whole new scale, it also calls for a different approach to customer experience and performance marketing.
Here are our top tips to help inform your planning for peak:
- Build back up into your network – many retailers rely solely on one or two fulfilment carriers all year round; this poses a significant risk going into peak when providers quickly reach full capacity. Retailers should look to minimise this risk by diversifying their delivery partner ecosystem, ultimately providing more agility as demand increases.
- Offer a dynamic delivery promise – 60% of consumers say they would select a retailer based on the delivery options provided, and 74% expect these options to be displayed on the product page. When demand increases, it becomes much harder to maintain delivery promises. Retailers must find a way to retain consumer choice whilst ensuring they can meet fulfilment demands.
- Optimise your post-purchase experience – every shopper you convert during peak will either become a return customer or a disappointed deserter. Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, 57% of consumers said they would be more likely to choose a retailer with a simple returns policy. A further 69% said tracking was one of their top three considerations when shopping online. Retailers must invest in their post-purchase experience to keep customers coming back well after the peak period has passed.
- Build audiences early and adapt accordingly – building audiences before peak starts is crucial. The dynamics of paid media auctions (Google, Facebook etc.) through peak mean high CPCs, fierce competition, and a strong bias towards converting campaigns. This means spending a little ahead of the demand curve so you can scale performance economically through peak. Be prepared for metrics that in the short term may seem worse but will improve as your peak pipeline converts.
- Think lifetime value (LTV) – customers acquired earlier in the season have a higher LTV because they have more chance to buy again during peak (assuming the initial experience is a great one! As we know, the loyalty and value of a customer are influenced by a vast range of factors; If you want a higher LTV customer, make sure you seed your lookalike and similar audience campaigns with an upload of your repeat/best-performing customers.
We hope this helps and good luck!