How CPGs Can Use Daily Retail Data to Increase Holiday Sales
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For many CPG companies and retailers, the holiday shopping season can be the most wonderfully lucrative time of the year. Black Friday through December is a period of heightened consumer spending and increased competition. However, consumers continue to begin their holiday shopping earlier and earlier each year, which means CPGs need to develop their strategies and plans for the season much earlier if they want to remain competitive and capture their share of holiday revenue.
According to a September 2022 Bankrate survey, 50% of 2022 winter holiday shoppers planned on starting their holiday shopping by October 31, with 11% planning to do so by the end of August. In 2023, there’s no reason to think shoppers won’t try to get a head start again. But, whether shoppers plan to buy in August or December, this year poses several challenges that could make the holidays less merry and bright—and less profitable—for CPGs if they are not properly prepared.
Consumers Are Saving More and Spending Less
It’s not that consumers won’t shop this season and spend money, but for many, their savings are shrinking and debts are growing, which will lead to more shoppers feeling the financial pinch as the holiday season gets closer. And with more than a third (37%) of all consumers making fewer purchases than they were six months ago, they are being especially thoughtful about where each dollar goes.
To save money this holiday season, celebrators will lean into money-saving measures such as buying items on sale (67%), buying less (48%), and using more coupons (47%). Add in that marketing budgets are shrinking and that it is becoming more expensive to acquire new consumers, and you have a situation where CPGs must be smart about giving holiday shoppers, especially their loyal ones, a reason to buy their brand and about finding ways to acquire them more cost-effectively.
Inflation and an Uncertain Economy
Inflation had a significant impact on buyer behavior in 2022, and it has decided to stick around to spend the holidays with consumers again. Numerator predicts that 53% of consumers expect inflation or a potential recession to impact their 2023 holiday celebrations and shopping.
Amid these mounting financial and economic pressures, consumers will likely spend more cautiously; therefore, pricing and value—and the ability to identify and react to changes in consumer behavior—will be critical for brands and retailers to ensure they’re meeting consumer needs.
Layoffs and Unemployment
Layoffs continue to rise, with tech companies leading the way. As of July 6, a total of 833 tech companies have laid off workers in 2023. Layoffs, as well as the fear of being laid off, can have a significant impact on an individual’s shopping decisions. Being unemployed could result in a shopper completely cutting their holiday purchases, reducing their spending, or possibly delaying their purchases until they find new employment.
It would be wise for brands to consider unemployment rates and keep an eye on layoff trends when building their holiday shopping sales and inventory allocation strategies.
RELIABLE RETAIL DATA: THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING—EVERY DAY
Despite all these challenges, people are still shopping and will begin their holiday shopping soon, both in physical stores and online. And although CPGs can’t control inflation or layoffs, they can control the type and quality of retail sales and inventory data they collect and integrate and how they use that data to better anticipate holiday season consumer demand, identify key sales opportunities, and minimize inventory and brand loyalty risks.
By employing a data-driven holiday shopping strategy based on accurate, daily item- and store-level retail data from all retail data sources, brands will gain the business intelligence and granular insights needed to not only take a well-planned omnichannel approach to their sales and marketing efforts but also effectively react to changing conditions in real-time to meet omnichannel buying behavior.
When analyzing and leveraging clean, harmonized, reliable point-of-sale (POS) and inventory data—both last year’s holiday season data and recent data—CPGs put themselves in the best possible position to make informed critical decisions daily to increase sales during the holiday shopping season. And the sooner companies start developing their sales, promotional, and supply chain strategies and plans, the better it will be for the bottom line.
5 Ways CPGs Can Use Daily Data to Plan their Holiday Sales Strategies Early and Well
1. Identify and Capitalize on Historical Trends
Analyzing last year's retail POS data allows CPG companies to identify and potentially capitalize on historical sales trends and patterns—and better predict future ones. By understanding what sales activities worked well and what didn't, companies can make more-informed decisions about which products or product categories to promote, how to price them, and which marketing channels to prioritize. For example, if last year's holiday retail sales data indicates that a particular product or category experienced a significant sales surge during a specific timeframe, the company can allocate resources accordingly and tailor its sales, retail execution, and marketing efforts to maximize impact.
2. Anticipate Consumer Preferences
Consumer preferences and buying behavior can fluctuate during the holiday season, and understanding these changes is vital for CPG companies to be able to adapt quickly and appropriately. By analyzing last year's item- and store-level data, companies can gain insights into shifting consumer demands and better understand “the why” behind them. Armed with this knowledge, CPGs can adjust their product portfolios and marketing strategies to align with the current preferences of their target audience—and be able to react effectively to anticipated or sudden demand shifts.
3. Optimize Inventory Management
Managing inventory effectively during the holiday season is a challenge and paramount for suppliers. Overstocking can lead to unnecessary carrying costs, markdowns, and tied-up capital, while understocking can result in missed sales opportunities and lost consumers. Understanding and leveraging last year's inventory data for all individual stores, while having near real-time data for current inventory levels at your fingertips, can help companies more accurately forecast demand, identify peak periods, and optimize inventory levels and allocation accordingly. This data-driven approach helps strike the right balance between meeting customer demands and managing costs, thus, reducing the risk of overstocks or out-of-stocks.
4. Fine-tune Pricing and Trade Promotions
Pricing and promotions play a significant role in influencing consumer behavior, especially during the holiday season. By analyzing historical POS data, as well as analyzing recent sales data and patterns, CPGs can gain insights into the effectiveness of various pricing strategies and promotional offers and activities. They can identify which pricing tiers yielded the highest sales volume or which promotions or marketing campaigns generated the most shopper engagement. Equipped with this information, companies can fine-tune their pricing strategies and promotional execution to maximize revenue, maintain a competitive edge, and improve ROI.
5. Allocate Marketing Budgets Effectively
As stated previously, the holiday shopping season is a highly competitive time, with CPG companies vying for consumer attention both in-store and online. To ensure marketing efforts yield optimal results, it's essential to allocate budgets appropriately. Last year's holiday retail sales data can help companies identify the most impactful marketing channels, campaigns, and messaging that resonated with their target audience. By leveraging this data and comparing it with more current data, companies can allocate their marketing budgets strategically, focusing on initiatives that have a proven track record of success.
‘Tis the Season for Reason
In the fast-paced and continuously changing world of retail, strategic planning based on the most timely, accurate, and reliable demand and supply data is crucial to capitalizing on the holiday season's immense potential. By collecting, analyzing, and understanding last year's data at an item and store level, CPG companies can unlock valuable insights into historical trends, consumer preferences, inventory management, pricing, and marketing effectiveness.
High-quality POS and inventory data can help sales, marketing, and supply chain teams make sound, collaborative decisions; effectively tailor their strategies by retailer, store, and/or SKU; and drive profitable growth during the holiday season. Starting strategy development early and leveraging last year's retail data allows CPG companies to gain a competitive advantage, ensuring they are well-prepared to meet consumer demand and achieve their holiday sales, marketing, and revenue objectives.
They say it’s the thought that counts, and with consumers being more thoughtful about their holiday spending this year, CPGs need to be more thoughtful with their data and decisions.
If you’re ready to see how your data can give you something to celebrate, get in touch with us today. Retail Velocity can help you automatically collect, clean, and harmonize all your retail data from all data sources, and we’ll even put a bow on it.