Top Ways Retailers Can Win the Holidays

Lauren Krause
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Killer holiday sales are not guaranteed. Retailers that want a big shopping season have to work hard, be prepared and have enough inventory to meet demand for consumers seeking great deals on holiday gifts. Win the holiday shopping war by focusing on a few statistics relevant for contemporary retail sales.

This infographic from Salesforce illustrates how to target your strategy through the frenetic holiday sales season so you do not overwork you or your employees. Rely on targeted emails, afternoon staffing, employee training, predictive statistics and empowered employees that all lead to a successful holiday season that bolsters your business for the following year. Remember the phrase "work smarter, not harder" during the last two months on the calendar.

More than half of consumers prefer email communications during the holidays. Nearly one-third of people use a mobile device to shop on Thanksgiving, and one-fourth of consumers consult social media before buying a gift. Emails that inform consumers that something is back in stock are opened 19 percent of the time, and abandoned cart emails earn more than $36 per click. Balance your online presence, social media posts and email advertising carefully. Don't oversaturate someone's inbox with three emails per day proclaiming the best deals. Instead, mention how a similar item, compared to one bought several months ago, is now in stock again. Send out a quick survey asking why a customer did not want to buy that cashmere sweater a week ago and offer alternatives.

Most consumers enter a store at 3 p.m. or later, Monday through Friday, to buy something during holiday sales. Keep staff on hand starting at 2 p.m. to close the deal, because most customer research occurs in the morning ahead of afternoon and evening shopping trips. With the exception of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and weekends, most of your sales staff needs to be on hand in the late afternoon and evening.

Allow your seasonal workers to be trained by veterans of the store. That way, you don't have to overextend yourself to train every new person. Plus, new workers will not feel abandoned once they arrive for the job in mid-November. Despite hiring up to 50 percent of seasonal workers during the holidays, companies lose 60 percent of those people quickly. Have experienced sales staff mentor junior members during the six-week holiday sales crush to ease any frustration. Friendlier staff leads to more sales, fewer complaints and strong customer relations.

Predictive technology has become a science. Invest in this type of online tool to target holiday sales towards customers who return to the store after analyzing past sales trends. Stores that use this type of program see 23 percent better sales, and 40 percent companies start to see revenue returns 36 months after implementation.

One key retail sales demographic involves 18- to 34-year-olds. In 2014, millennials accounted for a huge chunk of holiday shopping dollars. Consumers in their late teens and early '20s were more likely to attend Black Friday events, shop on Thanksgiving and return to stores later in December. Cater to shoppers with the most money to spend to see better revenue.

Winter holiday sales are not a mystery; they are a key part of a store's annual success. Just remember to focus your efforts to avoid running ragged in December.


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