Greg Norman Collection on How Digital Strategies Can Tee up SMB Success

SMBs teeing up for a successful holiday season must be prepared to go all-in on front- and back-end digital innovations. In the SMBs’ Guide To Boosting Holiday Sales Report, Brendan Tracy, director eCommerce and Marketing for golf apparel brand Greg Norman Collection, explains how the role of mobile wallets and AR automation are key to driving sales this holiday season.

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Many small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) in retail apparel have struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic. The 2021 holiday shopping season will be one of the largest revenue building opportunities of the year for those that have weathered the storm, however.

Brendan Tracy, director of eCommerce and marketing for golf-inspired performance apparel brand Greg Norman Collection, predicted that consumers will start checking off their gift lists earlier and earlier each year, a trend that will carry forth from the 2020 holiday shopping season.

“Due to supply chain and carrier delays, brands [are] asking consumers to shop now to secure products,” Tracy said. “[Greg Norman Collection has] made a major shift into digital [and is] increasing advertising efforts on multiple digital platforms. We have increased our product offerings [and] improved warehousing, and [we] offer various ways to accept payment.”

SMBs that have already adopted digital innovations are much more confident in their 2021 profits than businesses that have fallen behind. Approximately 68% of companies that upgraded their software and technology to process digital transactions said they think their revenues will experience a year-over-year increase. To compete with larger corporations this holiday season, SMBs should consider implementing online purchasing capabilities and automated payment processes for increased efficiency, lower costs and improved customer satisfaction.

Meeting Consumers No Matter Where or How They Want to Pay

Consumers’ expectations have evolved greatly over the years, especially since 2020’s pandemic-driven digitization. A growing number of consumers are making their purchases online rather than in-store, suggesting that implementing conveniences such as buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) and mobile wallet capabilities are crucial to a successful holiday shopping season. Whether meeting consumers’ payment preferences or offering greater transparency about shipments, retailers should work to forge deeper engagement with their customer bases to lock in loyalty.

“[To improve the online shopping experience,] Greg Norman Collection is being very transparent about when [a] product is coming, what delays are occurring and [what the] deadlines [are] for shipping windows,” said Tracy. “We are also giving deals early to our loyalty members. We have also listened to what our consumers want from a product level and have added those styles to our merchandise offering.”

In a PYMNTS study, 42% of Main Street SMBs that began selling or advertising products on digital marketplaces and 68% that invested in digital payments technology after the pandemic began claimed that they believe their 2021 revenues will surpass those of the previous year. With nearly one-third of consumers expecting to complete their holiday shopping before Black Friday, it is important for businesses to release their deals and incentives and offer customers the option of making their purchases online or in-store and to pay with their preferred methods.

“We will have deals throughout Q4 but will give our loyalty members first access and offer private sales for their business over the years,” he said.

How AP/AR Automation Positively Impacts the Customer Experience

Most larger companies were quick to adopt the new technologies that dominated the 2020 payments space. While many SMBs showed great interest in innovating legacy systems to improve the customer experience, some CEOs remained wary of adopting new technologies because of misinformed concerns related to cost and infrastructure capabilities. Main Street SMBs that declined investments in touchless technologies, however, expressed less confidence that their 2021 revenues would improve from the prior year than SMBs that have embraced payments innovation.

“AP/AR automation is the best feature for our wholesale, retail and eCommerce businesses,” explained Vipul Chokshi, financial analyst at Tharanco Group Inc., Greg Norman’s manufacturing company. “Information is in real time, and we can do much more analysis with [the] reports that system is generating. Customers love [it], too, as it’s so easy and quick for them to get orders placed, [have] credit cards [charged] and [obtain] refunds. … With all this, it’s now [very] easy to compete with larger players, as they are using the same features and platform, so it’s for sure a win-win situation for us [and] customers.”