According to HBR, stocking the most wanted products won’t be enough for retailers this festive season.
Buying behaviour has changed so significantly that the traditional ways for retailers to compete have become less effective. Shoppers are no longer enticed by the season’s ‘must have’ products, free next day delivery or markdowns. This is because all of the above are now expected to be part of the retailer’s initial offering and are therefore no longer an enticing reason to purchase.
For example, as part of the Toys R US 2014 festive sale, they made sure it included in-demand children’s toys, including licensed products such as the Frozen and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle dolls. Yet, it still turned in a comparable store net sales decrease of 2.7% for the season.
In my opinion, although the upcoming Black Friday and Boxing Day deals may seem impressive, they are not enough to get consumers to spend. This is why brands need to start engaging consumers with strategies that meet the needs of the shopper, rather than focusing on their offering.
To engage shoppers we need to provide them with an inspiring ethos that enriches the overall brand values and experience. Shoppers need to be able to physically interact with the brand, making a personal connection with product and brand. Finally, brands must also give customers a place where they can advocate creating a sense of community.
For me, a brand that has created a festive strategy that is effective all year round, in the UK, is Nutella.
During 2014’s festive season, they partnered with Selfridges to offer personalised jars of Nutella. The promotional offer was so successful that customers were happy to queue up to an hour for (speaking from personal experience). Ferrero also provided a website for advocates to show their appreciation of the product and brand through owned digital media. According to ThinkBox, the integrated communications plan has attracted one million new customers to the brand and generated an estimated payback of £1.85 for every £1 spent.
The opportunity for retailers in 2016 is to stop thinking about prompting a one-off transaction and start a much deeper, more creative collaboration by honouring the new consumers appreciation for a purpose, belonging and participation.