Pro Tips for The Best Peak Communication Strategy. Ever.

We've rounded up the best tricks from over the years and wrapped 'em up with a bow just for you!

November 9, 2021

A successful Peak Season doesn’t just happen by accident. It takes diligent planning and cross-departmental collaboration to bring to life and deliver an exceptional customer experience out in stores. 

Whether it’s your first holiday season or your 50th, we’ve gathered up our favorite communication best practices to help you maximize productivity and drive operational excellence during this critical time of year:

Review Your Message Cadence

As you approach this busy time of year, take a look at your current message cadence for opportunities to streamline publishing and increase readership. Our customers have found success by reducing bundles to no more than 4-6 messages per day and publishing them throughout the week, in a daily cadence. This serves two purposes:

  • It makes information more digestible and easier for stores to action upon
  • It creates a repeatable habit: stores know to check their messages once daily for the latest company info. 

Read more about best practices for your message cadence: Why It’s Time to Rethink Real-time Store Communication

Reimagine Your Message Structure

Take this time to reevaluate your current message structure. At Zipline, we think of messages in sections with a title, a body, and corresponding tasks + attachments. Use the body of your message to share key ideas, expectations and media-rich content (think video) with your field teams. But consider adding another section – an Upper Field note – at the top, to provide additional context to your upper field leaders that can help them guide your fleet towards a successful season. From here, use tasks to break down key initiatives into actionable items. Resist the urge to duplicate information and stick to the available fields for an effective, easy to read message.

Categories are your friend

Segmenting your Holiday communications into categories or groups doesn’t just help store teams find information quickly, it also helps paint the picture for store teams that individual messages and tasks are a small part of work towards much larger goals.

To get you started, here are some example categories, along with the company goals they might support:

  • Scheduling. Stores are scheduled effectively for high-volume days. 
  • Daily Operations. Stores are clean and organized, with equipment and supplies in good working order. 
  • Customer Throughput. Stores are ready to deal with a significant increase in foot traffic. 
  • Visual Merchandising. Stores look great, with merchandise set to sell. 
  • Loss Prevention. Stores know how to keep their teams safe and their units in stock. 
  • Hiring. Stores are staffed appropriately with qualified, trained employees. 
  • Recognition. Stores have the resources to recognize and reward their team members. 
  • Customer Engagement. Stores can provide a positive and engaging customer experience that promotes loyalty and sales. 
  • Community. Stores have the resources they need to volunteer with nonprofit partners in their community. 

Leverage Templates

Let’s face it: Crafting communications from scratch can be daunting for some business partners (“where do I even begin?”) and looks different from person to person. To ensure messages have a similar structure and tone regardless of the sender, use templates to help your writers focus on key details. If everyone is working from the same template, publishers can spend more time editing for voice and tone to create consistency across messages.

Tailor Content to the Right Audience

Different plans for select stores in the fleet? Send targeted messages to different store groups so users can focus on specific details that impact their store. For example, if Flagship and Outlet stores have different visual setups for Holiday, use targeting or folder permissions to ensure stores only see what information is pertinent to them. 

Engage Your Upper Field Leaders

Want to connect even further with your Upper Field population? Create an Upper Field only section (or category!) within your broader holiday communication to emphasize key holiday objectives and house season specific resources, like audit checklists and territory contest information. 

Color Code Message Updates 

Plans change and that’s ok! Send message updates out in real time, when stores need it most. Use consistent colored text and/or emojis to make message updates easy to identify. 

Include Direct Links

Do you host your communication on a portal, intranet, or other web-based platform? Then consider using direct links to help make finding information easy. Time is precious and no one wants to spend it hunting down resources. Including hyperlinks to resources within your messages and tasks can save valuable minutes which can be repurposed helping customers on the salesfloor.

‘Tis The Season to Be Festive!

Sprinkle some of that holiday cheer into your messages and Resource Library pages by updating banners, icons and category colors to a holiday theme. Have fun with the season! For Holiday related materials, messaging and tasks, use themed colors and emojis to celebrate the season and engage your readers. 

Show, Don’t Tell

Use images, gifs and videos to add more context to your messages and Resource Library pages. Things like unboxing videos or Standard Operating Procedures make great candidates because you can show your store teams what “good” looks like without worrying about if you explained the task correctly. Cutting down on text and doubling down on visual instructions helps with translation costs too…because there’s nothing to translate! 

Gather Feedback

Collect valuable insights from your field teams on what went well and where we could improve via Zipline Surveys. Leverage the information gathered to impact your plans when building your plans for next year. 

As you start planning for peak, consider Zipline as your one-stop Holiday shop; your vehicle to deliver the seasons’ top priorities and initiatives in real-time along with task and readership reporting to help keep everyone across the fleet on track. If you’d like to learn more about how Zipline can help during this time of year, reach out today.

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