A Quarter like no other
The Golden Quarter is retail’s busiest sales period. Q4 includes the increasingly popular Black Friday and Cyber Monday events, Christmas and the January sales. Last year Black Friday alone caused a 7.2% jump in sales and a 6.5% increase in high street footfall. Traditionally, this quarter is a chance for retailers to end the year on a high.
However, like most things in 2020, this year’s Golden Quarter could look very different. The COVID-19 outbreak has put a huge financial strain on UK families. National earnings fell by 20% in April, and the average household income has dropped by 9%. As well as having less money in their pockets, lingering safety concerns make consumers wary of the high street.
Despite this, the outlook remains positive. While the pandemic has disrupted retail, it has not been the devastating blow that many feared. Retail sales actually increased 13.9% in May 2020, and June’s sales figures were only 0.6% lower than they were in February. Things improved further when shops reopened in July, with record economic growth of 15.5% in quarter 3. In a recent survey, two thirds of UK shoppers said they were planning to spend the same or more than usual this Christmas.
The government has suggested that current restrictions may lessen on the 2nd December, leaving time for Christmas shopping in safer areas. The recent announcement of a vaccine will also help to increase confidence. People who would usually do their Christmas shopping in November will be forced to wait, so we can expect increased footfall in December.
Here are three ways that VoCoVo can help to ensure a safe and enjoyable Christmas for colleagues and customers alike:
1. Safe customer service
Making your customers feel safe will be the key to retaining their business this Christmas, which means strictly adhering to social distancing rules. VoCoVo headsets enable crystal clear communication from a distance. Colleagues can answer customer queries from afar, and talk to each other without getting too close.
Our headsets also allow you to take a proactive approach to crowd control. Colleagues in different sections of the store can alert other team members as soon as crowds start to build up, preventing the situation from getting out of hand.
Keeping up to date with the latest safety regulations will also be vital. Our message casting feature allows your head office to send out simultaneous updates to all stores for a coordinated response to new rules.
2. Embrace Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS)
The COVID-19 outbreak has led to a huge increase in Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) purchases. A survey conducted in the early days of the pandemic showed that 62% of UK shoppers were planning to use BOPIS as a way to reduce their exposure to COVID-19. These consumers have stayed true to their word, and Click & Collect sales have grown by 28% in 2020. .
VoCoVo helps you to embrace BOPIS sales by operating Click & Collect points in the most efficient way possible. Rather than placing a permanent team member at your collection desk, you can set up a call point. This allows colleagues to get on with other tasks until they are needed. Call points will track customer numbers throughout the day, allowing you to assign colleagues accordingly.
With customers relying on Click & Collect for their Christmas shopping, you can’t afford to miss a delivery. We also offer a waterproof call point for external use, so that delivery drivers can alert you to their arrival.
3. Faster team communication
VoCoVo allows you to reduce customer waiting times by communicating quickly and effectively with your entire team. Customers can use call points to get answers to their queries without waiting for a team member to attend to them. If a colleague doesn’t know the answer to a question, they can ask someone who does with the press of a button.
Colleagues can answer queries remotely without having to stop their work, increasing efficiency and productivity. This is especially useful during busy periods, when colleagues need to be uninterrupted to restock shelves regularly. Our research shows that by saving 105 minutes per day, you will save £111 per week per store, or £5,749 per year per store.
Things are looking up
This has certainly been a tough year, but there are reasons to be optimistic. The pandemic has given retailers a unique opportunity to adapt and innovate. By planning ahead and using new technology to your advantage, you can end 2020 on a high.