Commerce Trends

by Manhattan Associates

Christmas…same day, next day or too late?

We made it through the combination of Black Friday, Wow Weekend and Cyber Monday pretty much unscathed. It was busy that’s for sure. Sales were even higher than predicted, sites were fit to burst and the nation’s network of couriers scurried hither and thither delivering our goods.

Now we settle in and watch the last minute rush to make those eyes shine on Christmas morning … the growing hustle and bustle on the high street, the steady flow of traffic to those websites and call centres buzzing with the endless enquiries … will the retailer keep up with our demands?

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Cross Channel Consistency is a key expectation leading up to Christmas and indeed beyond. If I get one more dis-interested sales assistant in the shop telling me ‘online’ is another part of the business and they don’t know if it’s in stock I will scream. This to me is the death knoll for any retailer, seamless customer experience is a MUST for today’s consumer.

Cross Channel Visibility is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it is a business critical necessity. It’s all well and good arming store associates with tablets, setting up in-store kiosks and enabling wifi on the fly for finger tapping mobile shoppers … if the users of these digital miracles cannot have inventory availability served up to them in real-time on that little screen then it’s a wasted innovation to have enabled them in the first place. They are there so that we can ‘see’ what, when and how we get our stuff.

Cross Channel Fulfilment is the only way to make the customer (me) happy and make the retailer (you) profitable. Every second, every minute, every hour your business is going to need to fulfil a critical order from somewhere to somewhere else. It needs to be fully armed with a pretty powerful little engine to figure out all the if, buts, whens and maybes of each of those deliveries and be prepared to adapt on the fly when a curve ball is thrown in.

Christmas shopping is about having fun. It shouldn’t be a chore. December consumers are looking for a bit of peace and joy in their festive shopping. Any retailer serving up a bit of seasonal spirit will help enhance that overall experience. Whether in-store, online or by phone, we want positive cheer not ‘bah humbug’.

As we hurtle towards the January sales, retailers are well placed to exploit the buoyant market this side of Christmas by going that extra mile to encourage those extra sales and keep us spending our money.

After all, it’s not rocket science … or so the consumer thinks!