Dec 22, 2021 Christmas, the festival of joy, peace, and happiness, can be a hectic time for businesses, but it is also a time for great opportunities for businesses looking to boost their sales for the year. Through the case study of Marks & Spencer, we aim to give pointers to businesses who are prepping themselves for their big holiday sale. Case Study Marks & Spencer, a multinational retailer that sells clothing, home products, and food reported its first increase in profits in 4 years, as it expanded into the realm of data analytics with a focus on predictive analytics. Data analytics could provide various solutions to problems that the business faced whether in terms of stocking, supplier relationships, human resources, and more. For example, they were facing an 8.1% fall in online revenue as there was always a conflict between what was shown as available on their websites and what was actually in stock. Christmas is a crucial time period for many businesses with the top holiday retail categories by share of shoppers being clothing and accessories at 73%, food and beverages at 70% with home and kitchen products being further down at 36%. As you can infer, Marks & Spencer had a lot to gain in sales during the Christmas period as they specialized in products that did well in this time of the year. In fact, holiday shopping can account for up to 30% of all retail sales. The introduction of predictive analytics helped along their efforts in keeping their shelves stocked with the right products at the right time. This came into play during Christmas where it was used to ensure that shelves were always stocked with turkey and mince pies, popular Christmas fare. It is also used to manage supplier relationships through the ability to measure their performance accurately and to secure a wide variety of goods to even their smallest outlets. It was a problem for M&S where small outlets missed out on new and innovative product lines, especially in food products while also having a wastage problem where certain outlets would be delivered excessively large proportions. This was resolved by using customer and sales data to calculate the optimal amounts to be delivered to outlets. In turn, the company through data visualization and other tools could illuminate store workers on what to expect in terms of sales figures and throw light on the orders being put down and how they were being processed. Data from 2020 presents that 66% of American shoppers do research online but ultimately shop at brick-and-mortar stores. All in all, their ability to succeed in these important aspects was crucial to their Christmas TV campaign which signaled the availability of internationally themed food items. Through this case study, we see how data analytics can serve as a support to your supply chain and logistics during such a busy period. Christmas Sales Checklist Predict customer behavior Looking up past data and your current year’s data can give businesses a great idea of what products do well in terms of the number of sales, profitability, etc. Through various metrics, the business can examine customer behavior at every stage of the sales cycle – from discovery to purchase to feedback. One issue to be anticipated is cart abandonment. Nearly 70% of online shoppers abandon their carts. This could be due to a wide variety of factors like, say, price differences which can be resolved by AI-driven analytics to technical failures like slow loading speeds. Ensure website/mobile app readiness With an increase in user traffic during the December period, it is important to make sure that the website or mobile app is optimized to provide a wonderful user experience and not face issues in terms of slow speeds, inaccurate information, and more. There should be analytical systems in place to alert the business and solve any emerging issues that can interrupt the user experience. Data analytics can provide you with estimates on how much traffic to expect, thus allowing you to prepare accordingly. Plan your marketing It is important for a business to attract old and new customers. Plan out the holiday marketing campaigns by first looking at the performance of previous campaigns and determining marketing channels that saw the most engagement to ascertain the best ways to keep increasing customer engagement. Growing customer relationships and providing good value to customers is a great way to increase customer retention. According to Gartner, a 5% increase in retention can increase profits by 25% – 125%. By carrying forward the lessons learned and the data points that were captured, businesses have the power to plan and execute their holiday sales strategies to great success over the coming years. Tesseract, our self-service analytics platform, can be a valuable partner for your business and can provide you with the capabilities and insights necessary to build a successful Christmas campaign.