With the holidays just around the corner, online retailers are doing their best to get as much share of the online traffic their way. The somewhat grim economic circumstances this year do not seem to deter online buyers. While 44% of consumers feel that inflation is going to affect the way they shop for the holidays this year, the average American expects to spend around $1,455 for this year’s holiday shopping. That’s around the same figure as last year’s.
Despite the weakened state of household finances this year, consumers are still expected to keep up with their yearly holiday buying tradition. As a business, you cannot just simply rely on your digital marketing strategy last year to get a good chunk of that potential online buyer. Remember that customer loyalty does wane over time. So, brands need to keep up if they want to stay on top of their holiday sales game.
Looking beyond marketing
When your goal is to enjoy better sales for your holiday campaign, you’ll need to go beyond marketing. Sure, digital marketing can do wonders in keeping you visible and relevant online. It makes your website easier to find. However, if you want to sustain that, you’ll also need to throw in some much-needed customer service and satisfaction in the midst.
Marketing efforts are typically focused on getting more traffic in and boosting conversions. This can be further bolstered by a customer sales strategy that is focused on offering more value to customers. Customer service is a major deciding factor for 90% of consumers on whether they would do business with a company or not. Meanwhile, about the same number will consider making a purchase again if their experience was positive.
Making the most of the holiday sales
Inbound traffic is always going to be high during the holidays. The intent to purchase is expected to be higher as well, even these days when people’s finances may be a bit shaky. Customer satisfaction matters more than ever if you are to keep your sales figure up and keep your buyers loyal. Here are some of the things you can do:
Send out holiday-themed emails
Now’s the time to up your email marketing game. You’ll want to let customers know that you’re all about the holiday vibe. So, make sure that all your email communications and newsletters reflect that.
Remember that people are more likely to buy during the holiday season compared to other times of the year. Incorporating holiday themes into your communications with customers will bring about positive psychological implications, which will prod them into buying mode.
Personalized product suggestions
Getting your customers to feel the holiday vibe is just the first step. You’ll need to offer them products and services that you know are going to offer them value. This is where personalization comes in.
The past purchases that your customers made can be very telling of what their preferences are. Take note of this and see to it that your suggestions are well within the same category. Also, make sure to personalize every interaction with customers to make them feel seen and valued. See to it too, to grab any chance to upsell or cross-sell products.
Develop an optimized and speedy return process
Returns can be a hassle not just for any online merchant but for the buyer as well. And with people buying in droves during the holiday season, there is always bound to be more returns. Whether it’s customers’ expectations not being met by the product, them ordering the wrong piece, or them getting sent an incorrect item, the key is to expedite the process to everyone’s satisfaction.
When you make returns easy, straightforward, quick, and hassle-free, you’ll earn a loyal customer. They’ll even become brand ambassadors by putting out good word of mouth about your business to people they know.
Be clear about shipping fees
A lot of those buyers that abandon their shopping carts often do so because they were not pleased with the shipping charges involved. When you show a competitive shipping rate during product preview but end up showing a jacked-up figure once they decide to check out, that’s when they’ll leave.
Sometimes, you may offer free shipping but when the customer tries to go to check out, they learn that they have not met the minimum purchase amount and are charged the standard rate. That’s another abandoned cart right there.
This is why it matters that you have full transparency with shipping charges. If you offer free shipping but for a minimum purchase, make sure to get that out there, loud and clear. This way, there will be no misunderstanding.
Use social media to stay connected
Customers need to trust a brand before they will be inclined to buy anything from them. This is why it matters to be on the right social media platforms these days.
Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, what matters is that these platforms help facilitate easy two-way communication. Brands that customers can send messages to for inquiries and concerns that then respond to them right away tend to be more trustworthy than brands that are harder to reach out to.
Keep up with comments and messages and try to respond promptly. Nothing turns potential buyers off more than queries that remain unattended and unanswered for way too long. The same goes true for email queries and chat communications. Stay in contact but don’t take too long to respond.
Use automation where possible
Thanks to available technology, online stores no longer need to do everything manually. The emergence of automation technology including chatbots is transforming the digital shopping landscape for the better!
They are most effective at answering most of the common queries that customers raise when their brewing online. They can even be programmed to not just offer canned responses to common queries, but they can offer product suggestions too, based on keywords and phrases used by the customers.
More importantly, automation ensures that every query is responded to right then and there no matter the time of the day. Even during those times when a query comes in beyond your normal working hours, you can feel assured that it gets the necessary response right away.
Not only does this give a positive impression of your brand to the customer, but it addresses their concern straight away. When used right, it’s very much like the proverbial saying of hitting two birds with just one stone.
Making the most of the holiday rush
Keeping up with the holiday rush can be tough for businesses. The increase in demand does help improve sales, but without the right strategy in place, all these opportunities can go to waste or worse, to the competition. Making sure that you tweak your holiday strategy to accommodate the different needs and preferences of your customers is a crucial step to take. By delivering excellent customer service and ensuring that you offer products and services that are of value to them, convincing them to buy from you not just now but also in the future will be easier.