The holiday season is over. Before you get too far into the new year, you need to carry out a holiday post-mortem to review your performance over the holiday and uncover areas that require improvement. A good post-mortem takes a comprehensive look at your business operations during the holiday to gain useful insights for holiday spending as Canadians spend up to $2.781 billion exchanging gifts. Below are four steps to performing a proper post-mortem.
1. Involve Everyone Who Contributed
An effective post-mortem involves everyone who participated in creating the results. So, in addition to your marketing team, you need to include your web design team, for example, if you believe that your web interface affected your sales. Or, if you worked with an agency to create the marketing campaign, someone from the agency’s team needs to be present at the post-mortem.
2. Use Reports to Gain a Clear, Broad Picture
Comprehensive data should inform your post-mortem. Departments involved in the post-mortem should provide detailed reports that help you determine what the business did right and what it did wrong. These reports will help you figure out how to tune up your holiday marketing campaign’s strengths and work around its weaknesses for improved performance.
For example, the reports may reveal that some of your promotions were ineffective or that a drastic uptick in online sales resulted in frequent cases of understocking. You avoid repeating the same mistakes by using these insights to inform your marketing campaigns in the next holiday season.
3. Review Fulfillment and Shipping to Identify Friction Points
Fulfilling and shipping deliver on your brand promise so be sure to pay attention to these areas. Some of the aspects of fulfillment and shipping that you need to review include delivery times, return rates, customer complaints and the effect that shipping prices had on sales.
Determine friction points, which tend to become increasingly obvious during the holidays as increasing orders overwhelm merchants. Use your analysis to identify business processes that require optimizing or outsourcing for improved efficiency. As the influential management consultant (Peter Drucker) noted, nothing is as useless as optimizing a process that doesn’t serve your objective.
4. Do the Post-Mortem Immediately After the Holiday Season
Devise a detailed plan to improve your performance next year. You need to carry out the post-mortem as soon as possible after the holiday season is over and promptly create a plan while the analysis is fresh in your mind. Doing so gives you enough time to incorporate the plan into your preparations for the next season.