Predicting holiday sales patterns is challenging for any organization. Add a pandemic and high inflation to the mix, and things get even more unpredictable.
Early projections for the 2022 holiday sales season were pessimistic due to multiple factors, including inflation, inventory issues, and supply chain challenges. For example, an NPD Group study predicted that online sales would decline by up to 5 percent throughout the holiday season, and Adobe’s 2022 online shopping forecast predicted that online spending would grow by 2.5 percent, which would have been the smallest increase since Adobe began tracking in 2015.
However, sales have not been as bleak as these reports expected. In fact, after Black Friday, we’re seeing the strongest holiday sales since 2018.
Consider the following 2022 sales trends:
Follow these tips to prepare your business for holiday sales and make the most of a potentially profitable season.
It sounds basic, but it’s important to do research to understand trends and predictions in the market and to set achievable business goals. When looking at historical data, you should be able to spot trends and performance from previous years and use those to guide your goals. For 2022, shoppers understand that they can get good deals on items if they’re patient; while early sales encourage early spending, there are still opportunities to present consumers with discounts on excess inventory items.
Don’t forget that holiday sales aren’t only about discounts; they’re also about the opportunity for customers to get their items before they’re sold out.
As popular items are depleted throughout the season, shoppers seek retailers with available, ready-to-ship inventory. While supply chain management challenges have improved, they still exist, and discounts become less important to some shoppers when they’re securing items they want. It’s all about inventory management and being at the right place at the right time.
Managing your supply chain is still critical. However, with some planning, you can create a continuous flow of in-demand items. When you can offer an excellent customer experience that includes easy access to products and quick shipping, you can foster customer loyalty throughout the year.
Inventory management and profitability are even more critical for seasonal businesses that rely on the winter months for the bulk of their cash flow. It’s crucial to use the offseason to strategize, plan and communicate with customers.
Create a holiday marketing plan with tailored messages that address your customers’ wants and needs, and then ensure you get sufficient exposure and optimal product positioning.
Once your holiday marketing plan is ready, get the word out about your seasonal products, deals, discounts and specials via the following channels:
Online sales figures are promising, so ensure your website can keep up with the traffic and support your sales. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar business with a website or an exclusively e-commerce storefront, creating a seamless user experience can make a huge difference. Here are some tips to consider:
Comprehensive metrics reporting is a crucial way to understand your holiday sales efforts. The data can clarify issues surrounding your finances, customers, website, social media presence and more. Financial tracking, for example, can help you monitor your cash flow, while sales analytics can inform future sales and marketing decisions.
Track and measure every customer interaction from all your efforts across the sales funnel, from social media interactions to the final sale. With consistent metrics tracking, you’ll gain a realistic, comprehensive view of your marketing efforts and sales performance.
While every holiday season comes with unique challenges for businesses, the data indicates that inflation and supply chain issues aren’t discouraging holiday spending. In-store foot traffic is strong, and online sales are growing year over year. Preparing a business for the holiday season is similar to building a sales campaign: With a little planning, the performance can lead a business into a strong new year.