According to research from Future PLC Brits will spend big on the run up to Christmas this year. With nearly £200bn in accumulated lockdown savings, the majority of consumers plan to splash the cash on Black Friday purchases and Christmas gifts.
The research revealed 82% of Brits will be the same or more engaged in Black Friday and 55% will make Christmas their biggest celebration yet, representing a significant opportunity for brands and advertisers. Planned marketing spend has rocketed to take advantage of lockdown pounds, and it’s already clear that Christmas campaigns (and Christmas buying) have started earlier than happened pre-pandemic.
Whilst advertising campaigns are designed to get customers through the door, responsibility for keeping them there lies squarely with the store teams. It’s clear that those brands prepared to put their customers first have already started taking market share away from their competitors. This loyalty shift will come into full-force this golden quarter, as consumers vote with their feet – deciding where to spend their money based on who seems to value their custom most.
In the supermarket sector, we’ve already seen that M&S has lured customers away from its rivals, driven by a strong marketing message focused on value perception and affordable luxury. The acid test for M&S now will be whether they can deliver an in-store experience which customers appreciate and makes them feel wanted.
It’s common knowledge that customer experience across retail has declined significantly over the past 18 months, and whilst customers were initially forgiving, they now expect service to have bounced back to pre-pandemic levels. Our research has identified that bounce-back is still some way from being achieved across most of retail, and that opportunities to increase market share on the run up to Christmas and beyond are available for those brands that put their customers at the heart of their strategy.
Although it’s taken a while, John Lewis has finally acknowledged the importance of delivering the service basics in stores consistently to help support their recovery. They’ve opened a “school of service” for staff in the hope that a renewed focus on helping customers will boost sales. Other retailers will doubtless follow by renewing their focus on customer experience and ironing out the bad habits picked up by staff over the last 18 months.
Given the wealth of evidence available to denote the high priority that customers are placing on in-store experience post-pandemic, it’s difficult to comprehend how slow many retailers have been to refocus on this area. These brands must understand and accept as fact that customer experience will dictate purchasing as we move forward into 2022.
What’s abundantly clear is that the brands that enjoy the most success in applying a sales through service model to their customer journey over the coming months will take market share and increase revenue over the short and longer term. A sales through service strategy is undoubtedly a winning strategy for all retailers to adopt.
For more information about sales through service modelling, and to gain access to our benchmarking data, please get in touch.
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