The run up to Christmas is always a busy period for retailers – and for most it’s also one of the most important seasons when it comes to sales. And we, at YUUbag, are no exception.

Months of preparation for our key selling period delivered our ambitious growth plan for Christmas 2016 – and more. For over four weeks, our website and Amazon site were consistently delivering a YUUbag sale every 12 minutes.

Taking a step back, what does it actually mean to sell a YUUbag very 12 minutes? Walk into any primary school across the UK and Ireland and it would be difficult to find a child in our target market that hasn’t heard about YUUbag. Our awareness is huge, and there is a certain degree of playground kudos in owning a YUUbag. Creating such demand starts with a product offering that manages to offer dual appeal – a great product that kids really want to use, and parents are happy to buy.  And for YUUworld over the last 12 months it his has also meant going back to basics.

It might sound trite but putting our customers young, and older, at the heart of everything we do is the cornerstone of the business and our success to date. In the early stages of the business deeply engaging with kids during the design process of the YUU range resulted in real gems of insights and product suggestions, which we worked hard to incorporate.  

Talking to various groups of parents the same themes cropped up and asking them “describe the ideal backpack for your child” resulted in quite different answers; “durability”, “quality”, “supportive for my child’s back”.  

We then took great pains to create a backpack that worked for both the children and their parents.

In preparation for Christmas 2016 trading we spent several months going back to basics. Engaging again with children and their parents in focus groups, surveys and telephone interviews with previous customers we began to unpick the core brand pillars and touch points. In late spring 2016 we re-launched our brand – logos, straplines colour palettes and more. A newly refreshed YUU was launched alongside a new web platform.

Running parallel to our brand development we also scrutinised our extensive sales data over the previous years. Some clear patterns emerged and we started to see parallels with our customer feedback and surveys. 

It is easy to fall into the trap of only working ‘in the business’ and not ‘on the business’. The early months of 2016 we took regular time away from the day to day to dissect the business from the top down and the bottom up. By scheduling time to re-focus back on our customers, by engaging with them directly and through a data-driven analysis of our eCommerce stats there emerged a number of simple steps to help make a step change in our sales:

Firstly, by using our data more effectively and being smarter in targeting our messages to customer segments we could increase our sales conversion significantly.

Secondly, customers told us that they were actually happy to increase their basket size and spend more with us provided that there was a value offering. And our data backed this up. By simply creating a range of great value ‘bundle’ offers across our most popular ranges, we successfully converted over 40% of customers at Christmas to purchasing not just a YUUbag but a bumper Christmas bundle of seven gifts in one, featuring a range of matching accessories.

Thirdly, by the simple addition of a LiveChat service on our site we almost immediately saw a marked increase in conversion. Our customers told us that the ability to ‘talk’ through the product range and have questions answered instantly was really important. And the results were clear – around 60% of product based LiveChat interactions resulted in a sale.

We are not resting on our laurels, and Christmas 2017 is already on the horizon for us and we are projecting our biggest sales yet. This year will see us bring to market our most exciting product to date – a GPS enabled backpack, the YUUgo. Our customers and fans, the heart of our business, are helping us bring this to market and we are Crowdfunding the launch – and rewarding our supporters with up to 40% pre-orders. Where will YUUgo this Christmas?