Why brands should start thinking now about Christmas, ready to better capture and shape customer experience

Christmas shopping bags

Why brands should start thinking now about Christmas, ready to better capture and shape customer experience

Consumer behaviours are ever-changing and brands have to keep up. Even though we’re still in August, we’ve already got an eye on Christmas because it’s a key time for attracting consumers’ attention and creating an in-store experience that builds excitement that is synonymous with the season. Trends are already showing that Christmas 2021 will be a season of transformation. Brands are, however, facing a challenge of creating physical experiences that need to convince consumers – who are so used to shopping behind their screens – to ditch the digital world and enter the bricks-and-mortar spaces again. December 2021 is looking promising. This Christmas, it’s all about the customer experience. Are you ready?

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Christmas 2020 was like nothing we’ve ever seen. A season of usual mass celebrations became an intimate digital affair, with very low preparation and UK shoppers looking for quick in-and-out store visits, rather than searching for the customer experience we expect brands to provide. Last December was marked with uncertainty and the looming announcement of further lockdowns. Very quickly, the nation was introduced to the idea of a one-day Christmas, rather than what they have been used to. 

With COVID variants and hospitalisations at a high, there was an obvious fear of shopping physically. Indeed, 48% of all consumer spending took place online – the nation turned to digital spending for their Christmas dinners and mince pies. The Christmas customer experience was flaccid, and brands could only watch. However, with the gradual easing of restrictions, which began on April 12, 2021, retail sales volumes grew sharply in April 2021 with a monthly increase of 9.2% – bricks-and-mortar visits saw a resurrection. This flux of excitement is still on the rise, and brands are set to ride this wave and retain in-store shoppers in preparation for Christmas. Consumers are rediscovering shopping isles. But now, brands must turn even serial browsers into paying customers. 

People are going out, and with the success of the vaccination programme, brands have the chance to prepare ahead. With further easing of restrictions, it’s all hands on deck to deliver a Christmas experience like no other. Great campaigns and seasonal strategies come in all kinds of forms, but they do have one thing in common: they capture the consumer with excitement. Christmas is all about delivering an all-consuming brand experience – you want to evoke emotions. 

How do you know what your consumers want this Christmas? 

Trends are showing a spike in physical store purchases, and online sales decreased to 30% in April 2021 – therefore, stimulating and encouraging this growth will be key, even running up to Christmas. It’s all a success chain. Give your consumers space to rediscover their love for in-store experiences. This year will be all about transformations – it will be visual and emotive. 

At Christmas, brands provide customer experience built around family, re-connection, celebration and gratitude. On the back of the pandemic, this will be key in immersing the consumer and capturing their emotions. It has the potential to lead to a memorable brand experience. December 2020 was all about small celebrations and the shops adapted to that. But December 2021 is heading the opposite way, with people looking to celebrate the end of the year in style. This won’t be an intimate get-together. 

Brands have made the Christmas season synonymous with magic. At Christmas, brands fight for consumer attention – but it’s all about having a strategy and knowing your data. Predict what your shoppers want before they themselves even know. As Steve Ingram (director of retail at Deloitte) points out to Forbes: ‘The last thing a customer wants to see is a gap on the shelf…’. Innovation is at the top of the list for brands this year. Customers are easily bored, they need something exciting and immersive to capture their attention. There is a push to develop long-term strategies ahead of December, a sustainable plan. Forbes have pointed out that sustainability has been at the forefront of customers’ minds for many years, and grocery retailers have stepped up with carbon emission reductions. 

The design of promotions, campaigns, stalls and aisles has to be meticulous and synonymous with the brand, leading the customers through a shopping journey. It’s all about introducing imagination. Therefore, to secure consumer attention (followed by spending), brands and retailers have to reimagine their customer experience and place themselves on the shop floor. However, with digital campaigns running and physical visuals plastered everywhere, you must ensure the stock is there when the customer arrives, otherwise the whole chain is broken and loyalties are questioned. This is why every step of the customer journey should be considered when planning ahead for customer experience this Christmas. A targeted approach must be implemented at every touchpoint. You need to meet and exceed expectations. As a brand, you want to shape loyalties that will define the customer’s experience. 

Supporting brands this Christmas 

The customer experience is key to supermarkets this Christmas. This is a link that brands are looking to sustain this year in order to attract customers in store. A forged partnership between retailers and brands (which can further benefit customer reach and both delivery and sales) has perhaps gone digital for some, but it is not something that can’t be ignored. 

The only way to be prepared in advance, to monitor patterns, ensure availability and smooth roll-out of promotions and campaigns, is through data. Data is key to everything, from availability and logistics to design. At Logobrand, we know data and we deliver. With our services and top industry tools, your brand can be ahead of the competition this festive season. This is the perfect time to plan ahead for Christmas. The consumer behaviour is already shifting, can you see the pattern? What will your customer experience look like this December? 

How can Logobrand support your shaping of customers’ Christmas experience and maximise your potential to sell more? 

  • Identifying stores that need your support and pinpointing products that are experiencing availability issues, out of stocks, and therefore lost sales
  • Fixing those on-shelf availability gaps by deploying an agile field representative in-store to tackle those retailer compliance or stock replenishment issues
  • Merchandising stock on-shelf and ensuring stock inventory is maximised to allow regular replenishment 
  • Effective merchandising
  • Rectifying store and SKU level problems where retailer EPOS data is available  
  • Regaining share of shelf. We’ll ensure the correct number of facings are present to keep your consumers engaged and the shelves fully stocked    
  • Ensuring SELs are present and correct. If the price isn’t visible, your product won’t be picked    
  • Increasing visibility. With additional sites and visual merchandising, your product sales will soar    

At Logobrand, our dedicated team of field marketing experts will help you maximise sales in-store and deliver a positive return on your investment. We’re really proud of the clients we’ve worked with, including some of Britain’s best-loved brands. We don’t like to toot our own horn, but our recent wins of six different awards at the FMBE awards, including GOLD in Field Marketing Agency of the Year, speak for themselves…  

If you’d like to find out how to maximise sales in–store, get in touch with a member of our friendly team today.