What Steps Should We Take to Ensure a Profitable 2003 Holiday Season?
Guided selling applications that help customers find the right products can support all of your sales channels independently.
Posted Sep 8, 2003
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It is the end of the summer and while most people's thoughts are still on family vacations, retailers are making plans to ensure that they maximize sales during the most important selling season of the year: the holidays. The leading retailers are already working to implement the marketing plans and technology solutions and systems they'll need to support sales during the crucial 2003 holiday shopping season. Despite recent encouraging news about consumer confidence (surveys indicate that the majority of consumers expect the economy to improve over the next six months), the 2003 holiday shopping season will be more important than ever for many struggling retailers. What are retail companies doing to ensure that they close 2003 with a bang? As usual it's all about the customer. Engaging effectively with customers--even when many retailers are focused on cutting costs and reducing sales staff--is one of the best ways to help ensure that people shop and buy with you, instead of with your competition. But in retail, where it's notoriously difficult to find and keep a talented and knowledgeable sales staff, this can't be achieved only by investing in training. One CIO recently told me that he needs to somehow make his salespeople who are paid $40,000 to be as effective as $100,000 folks, because he simply can't afford the $100,000 people. Let's face it, it's not that easy to know all the products and engage demanding consumers. Salespeople need help. The best way to ensure your customers find what they want means embedding product knowledge in all places where customers might seek assistance, whether they come to you via stores, your Web site, or your call centers. Leading retailers from Amazon.com to Target to Staples understand that guided selling solutions are one proven way to develop the important, long-term relationships that are most important to your business. They also help ensure that customers find the products they want and help minimize returns after the holiday rush is over. Well-thought-out guided selling applications that help customers find the right products can support all of your sales channels independently, as well as multiple channels in tandem for those people who research online and buy from their local store. Guided selling applications can emulate the best practices of a "golden" salesperson, so customers get consistency in each channel and across channels. Salespeople can engage shoppers, no matter who they are and how they shop, and move them through the buying process, whatever that process is for them. Guided selling applications can also support shoppers who engage via a call center rep and then buy online or at the local store, and they can help your sales staff successfully cross-sell and upsell into categories they may not be familiar with. Guided selling can help increase sales, minimize returns, and ensure happy customers, often realizing ROI within just a few weeks. Retailers can be up and running on a guided selling solution long before the important 2003 holiday season. The best way to ensure a successful 2003 holiday season and enter 2004 with momentum? Begin now to explore the best solutions for your business that will help you ensure a successful holiday season.
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