The big push for holiday sales is over. The last Christmas product has shipped, the final holiday sale is done, and it’s time to get ready for the new year. But wait! Before you write the 2021 holiday sales season off, it’s time to do some analysis. How did that new website work? Did your Black Friday sales marketing bring in the customers you were looking for? Did you have enough inventory to meet customer demand, and how did the shipping process work out? It’s important to answer all these questions now, to understand what went right and what didn’t. By reviewing your holiday performance and making some detailed notes, you can repeat successful strategies next year—and ensure that you don’t make any of the same mistakes.
1. Conduct a thorough analysis
The first step to effectively understanding what happened during the most busy season of the year is collecting all the information. Do an analysis that includes every step of the product’s journey. It can be easy to overlook areas such as shipping or website experience, but don’t! You can collect data through many different channels. Encourage customers to take a survey about their experience with you, and ask about both the best and worst parts of their purchasing journey. Review inventory levels throughout the season, making note of products that were overstocked or understocked. Check shipping rates and turnaround times, and make a comprehensive list of the whole process.
2. Make sense of the data
You’ve collected a mountain of information—what should you do with it? First, make sure you understand what you’re seeing. Have several management-level employees and decision-makers review the information you’ve collected, to help see patterns and identify trends or issues. Pinpoint areas where the company did well, and make a special note of places where you underperformed. Customer satisfaction surveys are especially helpful for identifying trends and areas where you need to improve. Perhaps clients loved their website experience but were frustrated by long wait times to receive their product, for instance. Now you can trace the problem back to the source: was the delivery late because of low inventory, a slow system, or shipping delays? Analyze your data carefully to figure out what went wrong.
3. Create action items for the future
All the analysis in the world is wasted time if you don’t do something concrete with the results. Now that you know what happened, it’s time to decide what you’ll change. Was your website slow? Consider an update. Did your Black Friday sales marketing have a limited reach? Consider new marketing strategies and tools to reach more customers next year. Was your inventory understocked and slow-moving? Consider solutions such as outsourcing to a 3PL shipping partner that can help cut down on shipping issues. Your action items can be almost anything, but make sure you create them and stick with them. Learn from your mistakes, repeat your successes, and next holiday season will be even better than this one!