Christmas 2021
The Thread Team

Member Article

I'm dreaming of an agile Christmas

Christmas 2021 – back to business as usual or more business as unusual?

Unsure? The media seems pretty confused too. Recently the same paper carried two stories with seemingly conflicting headlines “UK over worst of pandemic as hospital admissions reach lowest level for two months” and “UK could go into lockdown this winter as Coronavirus cases soar”.

The only certainty is uncertainty

For retailers, particularly those with physical stores, these mixed messages are a constant concern as we embark on the build-up to the most important time of the year for the sector.

After last year’s washout which cancelled Christmas shopping for many, not to mention Christmas parties and most of New Year; we’re all hoping for a different story this year.

But right now, the only certainty is uncertainty so agility will be the word of the season. Retailers must be prepared to pivot on a knife edge to capitalise on whatever the twin forces of the pandemic and a distrusted global supply chain throws at us next. Hopefully, it won’t be necessary but the old adage: fail to plan, plan to fail, is true.

The key lies in understanding the new customer journey.

Roadmap to Christmas agility

Here is a roadmap describing how to quickly react to ongoing and persistent change:

Step 1: Audit how the customer can now buy from you. Is it purely through physical stores or maybe online only? Do you have click and collect capability or home delivery ? How else could you service your customer - maybe through product or service innovation - a subscription perhaps?

Step 2: Identify any barriers to purchase and find work arounds. Do this by building hypotheses based on your data; a dose of common sense and your organisation’s collective insight and run experiments, run them quickly and learn fast.

Step 3: Plot the new customer journey from need all the way through to post purchase evaluation. Be clear on all the touchpoints - think outside those that you control and map how you can accelerate the journey.

Step 4: Ensure your data is fit for purpose and campaign ready in order to activate discrete marketing initiatives.

Initiating the new customer journey

The good news is that whilst we can’t know what the future holds, we can have a very good guess at what the different scenarios look like. This means that the four steps outlined above can be planned in advance. Then if the worst was to happen and lockdown strikes again it is possible to quickly and efficiently switch into lockdown mode keeping customers informed about how they can interact with you. This very act will initiate the new customer journey and you can move them through the funnel with personalised communications built around relevant missions!

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by The Thread Team .

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