By Kim Abrahams for News24
They’ve just come through an exhausting festive season, complete with overcrowded stores, reckless spending and extended working hours.
But now retailers are in for another shopping frenzy – this time it’s to reverse all those sales that just weeks ago saw their profit skyrocket.
Research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research has found that one in every four gifts bought between last year’s Black Friday and Boxing Day will be returned in the new year, Mail Online writes.
The UK-based company says the returns are expected to amount to £4.8bn (about R85.2bn) out of total sales of £19bn (R337.3bn).
Iain Prince, supply chain director at KPMG, tells The Times the cost of having a product returned could be twice that of delivering it in the first place – but that’s done little to stop consumers.
Those who can’t return unwanted gifts simply flog the items on eBay, Gumtree or Facebook for extra cash.
In today’s retail and shopping centre landscape, it is becoming increasingly difficult to compete for consumers’ attention, says Steven Burnstone, CEO and head of analytics for Eighty20 Consulting
Standing out and being attractive to consumers is not impossible-all it takes is an understanding of your customers.
Burnstone says that understanding one’s customer base is key. “The way businesses communicate to customers is one of the many areas that need to be focused upon. Businesses need to shift away from traditional, product-focused advertising models and focus on delivering advertising and promotional messages that are customer-focused and tailored to specific individuals.”
Burnstone shared invaluable insights at the eighth annual South African Council of Shopping Centres’ (SACSC) Research Conference on 9 May 2018.
South African customers are members of multiple programmes, receiving countless marketing messages across all channels. How can retailers set themselves apart and be heard in this competitive environment? Big data and artificial intelligence is enabling retailers to speak more accurately to customers and better understand what marketing strategies work best to drive feet in stores and grow customer satisfaction.
Customer behaviour changes achieved by promotional campaigns and loyalty programmes can be assessed.
“In highlighting the data required, methods used and the common problems encountered, we can uncover some of the nuances of customer behaviour change and what to look out for. We can look at some of the insights gained from these analyses and see how they can be used to systematically optimise these campaigns and programmes.
“These can improve the efficiency of marketing to customers, through personalised targeting of messaging and communication channel.”