The holidays are a busy time of the year for both retailers and customers - to say the least. The pressure is on merchants to make a success of the season, and end the year on a high. And not just a sales high - the opportunity to acquire new customers is just as big. The kind of customer experience you offer will ultimately determine not just if they’ll make a purchase but whether they’ll come back to your store in the future.
There isn’t a lot of time between Black Friday weekend and the holidays, however the time you do have can still be used to make adjustments to your store experience at different touch points throughout your customers’ journey.
Let’s look at 3 ways that will make an impact on your CX, that can be implemented fairly quickly and easily.
#1 - Communicate deadlines and other key info throughout your site
There’s nothing worse for a customer than placing an order only to discover that it won’t arrive on time for the holidays. Or buying something just after Cyber Monday, and their order doesn’t dispatch until the following week. However a lack of communication can harm customers’ perception of your store, even if something like a shipping deadline is set by your courier partner and not your brand.
The best way to prevent this, is to take a proactive approach to communicating information on your site. It isn’t enough to tell people on social media or through email - these are people who are already aware of and engaged with your brand. Not every new customer will see your social media, and not every existing customer will pay attention to their emails.
Perhaps the most visible way to communicate key information is through a site banner. This can be changed depending on the most important info you want customers to see as they navigate through your site. That might be shipping deadlines, order dispatch delays, or even adding a quick link to gift cards as deadlines pass. You can also include this information on the homepage, as a good number of site visitors will land here first.
A valuable resource to point to is a seasonal FAQ which can be hosted on your usual FAQ page or on key landing pages to communicate the most important, up-to-date information related to the holiday season. This can be as straightforward as the top 4 most asked questions, making it easier to add to your store quickly.
#2 - Use email and SMS to engage browse and cart abandonments
Everyone is busy during the holiday season. For many of your potential customers, they’ll be thinking about many different recipients they need to buy for, budgeting for those, researching potential gift ideas and so on. When they only have one recipient to buy for, it’s easier to remember and keep track of the products they were interested in buying. Some may have gone through to the checkout page and didn’t complete the purchase, some may have signed up to emails for a first-order bonus, and others may be previous customers.
In all of these cases, you want to send them a reminder of what they were interested in. Cart abandonment emails are one of the highest converting automations, with around 50% open rate on average. While you may already have these emails set up, it can be worth adding extra triggers to send emails as shipping deadlines approach. These can include information about those deadlines, as well as any incentives you may already offer as part of your cart abandonment strategy. If you don’t already have browse abandonment emails set up, these can be an equally valuable addition to your holiday strategy.
And if you want to really grab attention, add some SMS triggers into your cart and browse abandonment flows. Use these with the customers who will most engage with this style of messaging, such as segments which include previous and loyal customers. Especially in the days leading up to deadlines, these messages can serve as helpful reminders to customers who may not realize how soon they need to order gifts.
The more you communicate in a helpful and useful way, the better the experience will be for your customers and the more likely they will be to either return to your store or give positive feedback.
#3 - Add real time tracking to your post-purchase experience
One of the biggest concerns for customers during the holiday season is whether or not their orders will even arrive on time. 61% say this is a major concern this holiday season, and 65% will abandon a retailer after 2-3 late deliveries. Even if that late delivery is the result of a courier delay, the customer will ultimately lay blame with your brand. Worse still, 70% of those customers are likely to share their negative experience online when a delivery is late.
While you can’t fix the supply chain or influence delays, you can ensure customers know what’s happening with their order. Real-time tracking tools such as Order Lookup give your customers much needed insight into the status and location of those holiday essential deliveries. Your team can add any notes to the order for the customer such as potential delays from couriers, keeping up that useful line of communication.
Plus, with the number of deliveries customers receive, there will be all different couriers with their own tracking systems which can get confusing and frustrating. Order Lookup makes it easy to instead provide them with a clear, simple to use customer facing portal where your brand controls the appearance and language. This makes for not just consistent branding, but a much more user-friendly experience your customers will appreciate during such a hectic time of the year.
While much of your holiday CX prep will have been completed in advance, that doesn’t mean you can’t make tweaks and adjustments. These little changes could make a big difference to how customers experience your brand, and their chances of coming back for another purchase in the new year.