The holiday shopping period is the most lucrative time of year for retailers and brands alike.
However, the fast-moving nature of the season also presents several challenges, especially when it comes to brands competing for attention. While online shopping is still on the rise, department stores, discount stores, and clothing stores remain popular holiday shopping destinations, and in 2017 the desirable younger market (ages 18-24) has indicated they will spend more on holiday purchases than last year.
A growth in holiday spending also means brands are competing more for shelf space and brand awareness through advertising campaigns driven by detailed, real-time analytics. However, the holiday season can go by so quickly that brands fail to leverage the information they have to adjust marketing campaigns, gain shelf space in key stores, and restock fast-selling SKUs.
To avoid losing potential revenue, brands looking to exceed their holiday goals need to be diligent about collecting, analyzing, and taking action on aggregated data. Key data points every brand manager should be tracking throughout the holiday season include:
Shelf Share and Compliance
Shelf share and positioning is one of the most important factors when it comes to unplanned in-store spending, which still make up 62% of holiday purchases. Unfortunately, in the busy season retailers may neglect display agreements. To ensure your brand is getting the visibility it deserves, you must analyze shelf share data and pictures regularly, and contact retailers immediately if they aren’t complying.
Real-time data can also help improve your shelf share during the holidays, as store managers will be more likely to increase shelf share or provide you with a more desirable location if they can view concrete data demonstrating the performance of your products.
Knowing the cost of other brand’s products throughout the holidays is crucial to ensure your products are competitively priced. If a similar item from a competitor experiences a price cut, you need to consider how that will affect your sales and if you should match the price. Failure to collect and analyze this data quickly could mean losing sales to a lower-cost alternative. With such a high volume of transactions occurring each day, a lag in price-matching for even a short time will impact sales.
SKU Availability and Popularity
Trends can be hard to predict ahead of time, and popular items can quickly disappear from shelves. The typical cycle of a store recognizing they are out of a SKU, re-ordering, and re-shelving that product can take weeks, especially when store managers are stretched thin during the holidays. In the meantime, similar items may claim valuable real estate. Real-time data, combined with a feature to alert the right people, can save brands from lost sales that are a direct consequence of out-of-stocks and product voids.
The knowledge that a SKU is performing well is also vital. Brands can use data from other store locations to argue that additional stock should be ordered or to demonstrate the power of a better display location.
Real-Time Data is a Necessity During the Holidays
The vast majority of holiday shopping is conducted between Thanksgiving and Christmas—a precious few weeks that account for the biggest sales of the year. During this time, field workers are extremely busy, and reliance on manual data entry requires time spent inputting reports instead of observing retail conditions. With traditional data collection methods, you might not know the impact of a marketing campaign, what SKUs are outperforming expectations, and which stores are failing to comply with shelf agreements until it is too late.
With a robust execution management software like GoSpotCheck, field teams are able to complete more tasks per day, and brands receive data in real-time, allowing them to act while holiday shopping is still in full swing. To learn more, schedule a demo today.