Are sales seasons dead? Automation, data and promotional strategies in 2020

Sales seasons have been peak times of profit almost since retail began. Certainly, post-Christmas and springtime sales have helped retailers across the business landscape to weather potentially difficult between-season periods, and even boost attention wherever there’s been a risk of potential losses in the past. 

Now, though, as shoppers move online, where affordable pricing and better deals are possible at any time, many believe that the tradition of ‘sales seasons’ is dead in the retail water.

Of course, this isn’t entirely true, with many consumers still expecting go-to discounts at set times. But companies could undoubtedly benefit from noticing that the retail switch towards automation and increased data have led to an entirely new, and perhaps beneficial, sales environment.

To prove just how and why you could benefit from these more modern promotional focuses, we’re going to look at the 2020 retail landscape, and what it means in relation to your money-off efforts moving forward. 

 

Uncovering the hidden depths of the generic sales season

Given that the retail landscape enjoys an annual value of around £394 billion despite recent changes, you might first want to know what exactly is wrong with the ‘sales season’ model. You may even find that your profits continue to bolster at these times, leaving you wondering what’s behind this need for change after all.

In reality, the damage in generic sales rests more in what they don’t do for you than what they do. Not too long ago, this was the only option, and the ideal way to offload old stock or boost attention. But, with that now far from the reality, it’s vital to ask yourself whether generic sales are failing your bottom line.

Perhaps the most damaging risk here comes from a value perspective. It’s now no secret that widespread discounts are some of the worst for throwing product worth into question. Online, especially, significant generic discounts with the wrong wordings are sure to leave consumers questioning initial price points. That’s a reality no retailer wants to face. 

What’s more, blanket discounts do nothing to help you target the unique sales challenges that these new retail landscapes are bringing to the fore. Now, it’s vital that your every promotional effort is tailored around significant data influxes in everything from traffic sources to retention, shopping cart abandonment, and a whole lot besides. And, trust us when we say that a simple sale will never be enough to incorporate these wide-ranging challenges the way you might hope.

 

The technology turnaround: The real reason the simple sales era could be ending

If generic sales have served you until now, you may be wondering why the sudden turnaround? Online sales have been on the increase by an average 324% over the last ten years, after all, so why is 2020 the year when sales seasons seem to be out of fashion?

In reality, this turnaround isn’t half as sudden as it seems, with many companies implementing tailored sales processes for a good few years by this point. Undeniably, though, there is an increased urgency to do the same, and it’s primarily due to technological advancements, and the fast rate at which big data continues to grow. 

With consumers set to create as much as 2.5 quintillion bytes of online data each day throughout 2020, there’s simply no getting past the fact that companies reverting to old sales methods are missing a trick and, ultimately, leaving themselves far behind. 

This is especially the case considering that as many as 2 in 5 retailers are already tailoring better offers with artificial intelligence implementations, including automated data analysis, programmatic ads, and ultimate personalisation across the discount board. 

Tailored uniquely to modern customer needs, these more focused tech-based sales efforts are sure to reap much better rewards, all with trackable results and per-customer focus that can help to avoid the potential pitfalls mentioned above. As simple as that, integration ensures that companies can continue to evolve, offer competitive discounts, and meet with consumer needs all in one (or two) manageable tech implementations. 

 

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A modern promotional focus

So, those are the benefits of stepping away from traditional sales models, but how exactly can you achieve this goal? AI and big data may be vital to the process, after all, but how can you put them to good promotional use? 

Ultimately, personalisation is key here, and it’s what stands to set your modern efforts apart from your old focuses. Generic is the word you want to lose as consumer focuses shift, and 79% of customers report themselves only liable to interact with discounts that have personal focuses at heart. To further emphasise this need, 51% of consumers expect companies to take care of this by 2020. 

That may seem like much more work than a simple ‘20% off sale’ across stock but, with the right software behind you, personalised discounts couldn’t be easier to come by, and can target consumers based on everything including: 

— Shopping histories
— Browsing habits
— Birthdays/special occasions
— Shopping cart abandonment
— And more

Personalised loyalty programs integrated through automated email systems and more can also work wonders for implementing these new promotional focuses. And, of course, any software that allows you to analyse big data ensures that you can foresee, track, and therefore better meet consumer needs from a promotional perspective at all times. 

Note, too, that your website or shop-front is no longer the only place from which it’s worth advertising sales. Countless retailers are also finding that unique promotions advertised through influencers or similar are priceless in the modern market. Given that 82% of consumers now openly trust influencer recommendations, focusing efforts here could undoubtedly see you enjoying increased promotional attention from consumers who already trust what you’re doing rather than questioning your worth!

 

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Customer/brand relationships are changing alongside technology, are you ready to keep up?

The way consumers and brands interact has changed almost beyond recognition in the last ten years, and generic promotional offerings are no exception to this shift. Now, personalisation is critical, with consumers continually looking for tailor-made brand relationships that keep their needs at heart. In fact, with customers spoilt for choice with year-round discounts, a failure to take action and change your sales processes could be as good as a nail in your profit coffin.

Luckily, as the need for personalised focuses changes, so do the promotional technologies to make it happen. Unique promotional code software can, for one, take every single promotion to the next level during 2020 and beyond. Automated data collation, updated CRMs, and more accessibility to tailored advertisements can also work wonders for giving you a modern edge where your discounts are concerned. 

All you need to do is make sure that you’re shifting alongside these promotional landscapes, and that your efforts are meeting those ever-pressing consumer needs rather than throwing a generic blanket over issues you’ve been ignoring for too long.

Topics: retail promotion strategies

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