Conchango predicts Christmas retail winners and offers top tips for making it through a tough festive season

London, 25 November 2008 – Interactive media agency Conchango, today unveils its annual predictions into Christmas retail readiness, revealing which brands it’s found are best equipped to succeed during this year’s unusually tough Christmas period.

As part of Conchango’s assessment of e-commerce sites, usability and navigation, customer support, price proposition and company stability were highlighted as key factors affecting a company’s success this Christmas.

Websites likely to buck the economic gloom are those able to offer good delivery and return, refund and exchange services, competitive pricing and promotions and a good range of products with accurate information and good availability. Company stability will also be a significant differentiator for retailers this Christmas. Those who can reassure consumers that their business won’t go bankrupt, and that their Christmas presents are safe, will reap the benefit to their bottom line in January.

Winter winners will be:

1. Play.com: for excellent pricing and delivery combined with a huge range of products available with deals and discounts, good delivery and market perception as cheapest online for entertainment

2. Tesco: with a strong and trusted brand, it offers a wide range of pricing across multiple product ranges and services and the site gives a consumer a good experience

3. ASOS: for a varied and affordable range complemented by easy site navigation, great customer service and quick delivery

4. Net-a-Porter: full of luxury clothing and accessories with an easy to find search capabilities and a good service

5. Thorntons: for a beautifully balanced price and quality proposition supported by a trusted brand

Despite the current economic climate, the online industry anticipates a 15% rise in online sales over the Christmas period.

Lynne Davidson, Head of Retail, Media & Entertainment Consulting at Conchango says: “There is no doubt 2008 will be one of the toughest Christmas’ the retail sector has seen for a long time. But rather than give up and drown at sea, brands should be fiercely swimming against the tide. We’re not suggesting heavy financial investment. Rather, serious strategic thought into how brands can adapt to, or even exploit, the current retail market conditions is required. We’ve seen some retailers, including mid-range brands, buck the downward trend with strong financial results. There is no reason why, with some smart thinking, this can not be replicated by others.”

To help retailers struggling to prepare for this unusual Christmas climate, Conchango has created best practice guidelines:

Relevant campaigns – Tailor campaigns, offers and Christmas strategy around the current economic climate and ensure that best offers are communicated across the marketing and advertising channels. However, avoid the use of ‘sale’ messaging at all costs.

Web – Keep downtime until 3.00am, use worst case scenarios on shipping and estimated delivery dates, evaluate platforms by investing in load testing and ensure that enough bandwidth is available at peak times.

360 retail – Ensure all messages, stock and promotions are consistent across all channels.

Review stock – Assess intended stock line-up. Does it still hold value and is it suitable for a much more price conscious consumer?

Out of town complexes – Used by many consumers to complete all of their shopping in one hit, it’s vital that out of town stores can provide what shoppers need that day or they will go elsewhere. Think high stock volumes of hero products, alternative ordering and delivery options for unavailable items and high staffing levels.

Exchanges, returns, refunds – must be quick, must be easy and must be multi-channel.

Navel gazing – Look at footfall and traffic stats over the last nine months. What are like-for-like sales showing? How are the figures, year to date? Re-forecast to create realistic targets and goals.

Inspire – Offer products and service that will leave a permanent impression, post-economic slowdown. It may well be a time to watch the pennies, but there is no need to make everything look and feel cheap.

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About Conchango
Conchango works across EMEA to deliver strategic, creative and technical solutions to businesses and organisations across the globe. We help clients to understand the capabilities and unique opportunities of the digital space.

Conchango works with clients to develop deep insights and effective, measurable strategies for the future – whether short or long term. We marry strategic and creative endeavour with first-class technology development and systems integration. We drive value for organisations by developing engaging experiences and measuring their potency across enterprises and communities. The resulting experiences are applications, websites, intranets, kiosks and mobile applications that help to increase loyalty and advocacy over time.

Bought by EMC in June 2008, Conchango, (now known as EMC Conchango) is a service offering within EMC Consulting EMEA.

www.conchango.com

Press Contacts:

Firefly Communications

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7346 1403

Email: ConchangoTeam@fireflycomms.com

Lesley Mace at Conchango
Head of PR and Marketing

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7261 4071

Email: Lesley.Mace@conchango.com

Web: www.conchango.com

Published on: 12:00AM on 8th December 2008