It’s that time of the year when shoppers are out doing other things and there’s not much for you to do. Think again.
In the digital age, there is no off-peak season. Rich and valuable data on consumer and competitor activity is continually being generated and businesses only need to watch and listen to make strategic shifts towards higher profitability. The best time to recce and realign is the calm between the storms.
Here’s what brands and retailers can do to leverage the lull during the slow season and swing full force into the next peak –
Understand your customer: The digital age has made it easy to listen to consumers and understand their needs, preferences, and behavior patterns. Pay attention to what they are saying about your and competitor brands, note what they love and hate, identify their sweet spot between need and aspiration. This will help you identify the perfect product or service that strikes the right note with customers. Understanding the pulse of the customer is a game changer.
Track your competition: Whose competing for your consumer’s wallet? What’s your competitor’s product assortment, pricing, placement? What are they doing to woo the customer right now? Study your competitors and do something that differentiates your brand.
Identify product gaps by Designing or positioning your product on the basis of gaps in the market could be a swift way to establish differentiation and quote a premium at the same time.
Analyze your sellers: With booming marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Alibaba it becomes imperative to keep a tab on sellers selling your and competitor products. Seller analytics will not only help monitor the most popular products and undercutting but also enable you to weed out bogus sellers.
Use price discounts to reduce and declutter inventory: The slack between peak seasons can be lifted by making strategic and tactical pricing decisions based on tons of data being churned out every day. Discoveries like your closest competitor, most volatile priced product, most price elastic category, or overall price dynamics of the market can help make your products more resilient and price competitive.
Similarly, use discounts and placement to declutter your inventory from end-of-life products so that you are ready with fresh and latest offerings during peak season. A systematic discount and bundling planning could work wonders in decreasing inventory cost and optimizing product offerings.
Launch loyalty programs: Coupons, credits, and rewards could take the company a long way in this brand disloyal market where price loyalties reign. A coupon given during non-peak season could help in pulling customers during peak times like Thanksgiving.
Strategize for promotional seasons: You may have missed this year’s Columbus Day but you can always prepare for the next one based on the observations and findings you gather this year. The time you spend understanding consumer and market behaviors can be well deployed in defining new promotional periods and refining your product, pricing, and placement suitably. Holiday season sales in the US itself are predicted to touch a trillion dollars, while online sales in the same period are expected to cross the $100 billion mark. Counting on the emotional fervor of shoppers during the holiday season, marketers are creating newer and newer promotion seasons. Dads & Grads, President’s Day, Back to School, Labor Day, Easter… the list goes on. This long list ensures one thing: Marketers need to be on their heels the whole year, planning and preparing for the next promotion so that the opportunity is not lost.
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