As the owner or operator of a retail store, your success hinges on your ability to bolster sales through repeat business. Roughly 28 percent of gifts purchased during the 2017 holiday season were returned. With the total value of these gifts at $90 billion, you need to be prepared to compensate for these returns with stellar sales. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is to orchestrate a stellar holiday return strategy.
What exactly is the holiday return season?
Simply put, the holiday return season is the four weeks that follow Christmas. With the number of product returns growing every year, being prepared for the holiday return season is nearly as important as preparing for the holidays themselves. In particular, the holiday return season opens up opportunities for past customers to
"It's cheaper to get past customers to purchase again than it is to find new customers. This is true for most businesses, especially in the crowded online e-commerce arena where ad impressions, clicks and conversions always seem to be increasing in cost, making new customers more and more expensive to acquire."
- Richard Lazazzera, Founder of A Better Lemonade Stand
What steps can you take to make the return process simple and profitable?
The return process does not have to eat into your profits. If you plan in advance, you will be prepared to handle the influx of customers who wish to return goods. If you play your cards correctly, customers who visit your store to return their products may end up spending more than they did when they purchased from you before Christmas. Here are some steps you can take to make the return process simple and profitable.
1) Start planning in advance
Maximizing your post holiday sales will be challenging if you wait until the day after Christmas to put together a plan. One of the best ways to plan in advance is to craft a marketing campaign that advertises your latest cutting-edge products. Distribute this once as Christmas is approaching and then again on December 26th to whet your appetite for your newest products.
2) Create a fast and easy return process
A fast, easy return process is the cornerstone of a successful post holiday season. Here are a few simple tips to help you keep the return process flowing smoothly and easily:
- Make sure customers are aware of your return process. Include it on your website, on your invoice, and on internal mailers.
- Consider asking your shipping crew to generate a prepaid shipping label to make the return process easier on your customer.
- Ensure that all of your employees are properly trained on your return process so they can effortlessly help customers
3) Advertise enticing new products to which customers can apply store credit
Ideally, customers who return items to your store will be open to exchanging that item for another product in stock. Check your inventory and recent sales history to identify items that have been popular with buyers since Black Friday. Then, be sure to position those items accordingly.
- Physical product placement: Position new and top-selling products at the front of your store and within close proximity to the returns desk
- Online product placement: Avoid placing hot-selling items on your home page; instead request placement near the items you are returning
4) Have a plan in place for your rural customers
"It is estimated there are around 3.4 billion rural consumers in the world and this segment is almost half of the total world population."
- Poornima Subramanian, The University of Texas at Austin
Not all consumers have access to brick and mortar stores. With rural consumers accounting for nearly half of the world's population, it is important to have a plan in place to make it easy for buyers without easy access to brick and mortar stores to return items.
What is the best way to make the most of your post holiday season?
As a leader in retail logistics, CTL Global Solutions has the tools and resources to help you maximize your sales during the four weeks after Christmas. For nearly 40 years, CTL has provided five-star fulfillment solutions to retail providers in the United States. We invite you to contact us to find out how our retail fulfillment solutions can help you gain an edge over your competitors in the weeks to come. We look forward to helping you make the most of your post holiday season!