Right now, we’re all focused on how prepping for Holiday is stressful for retailers—but it’s important to remember that the season can also be pretty darn stressful for consumers, too.
Seasonal gift-giving can make or break a shopper’s relationship with a brand, which means Holiday is the perfect time for retailers to audit the experiences they offer and determine how they can increase their customer satisfaction (CSAT) ratings. Since the post-purchase experience drives three of the top five factors in CSAT for online shopping—delivery, package condition, and customer service—retailers who want to win at Holiday need to be able to win customers over after their purchases have already been made.
Let’s take a minute to consider today’s consumers:
- Last year, consumers were 28% less likely to choose in-store pickup as their fulfillment method during Holiday.
- 60% of online shoppers are more likely to choose a retailer that can tell them the exact date a package will arrive.
- 82% of consumers ship gifts directly to recipients during Holiday.
- 98% of customers feel better about a retailer if they’re notified immediately when something goes wrong.
- 48% of shoppers have returned an online purchase in the last 12 months.
So how do you win more seasonal customers over with your post-purchase experience? By focusing on accurate gift package tracking, proactive delivery alerts, and seamless returns.
Up-to-the-minute gift tracking
Retailers that take the time to create first-class order tracking experiences are more likely to establish a loyal following among their clients. Before a customer purchasing a gift even clicks the buy button, she wants to know when she can count on that gift being delivered by. It’s important not to discount that 60% of shoppers say they’re more likely to choose a retailer that can tell them the exact date a package will arrive. That information is particularly important when it comes to gifts, as we can see that 28% of consumers don’t want to pick up gifts in-store during Holiday, while 82% ship their purchases directly to the recipients. Consumers don’t want to spend their hard-earned money on gifts that won’t show up until after the holidays have already passed, so it’s important to give accurate delivery info as soon as possible to avoid irritated customers and overloaded call centers.
In addition to keeping customers informed, you can use on-brand tracking pages as another channel that can lead to additional purchases. According to the Narvar Benchmark Report published earlier this year, marketing CTRs (click-through rates) from tracking pages increased by 3.8% during the 2016 holiday season. If the right product recommendation comes along, why wouldn’t a customer buy a little something for himself while he’s tracking his gift’s journey to the recipient?
While a well-designed, on-brand tracking page is definitely a huge part of building a stellar post-purchase experience, it’s unrealistic to expect shoppers to continuously check in on the status of their holiday purchases, especially if they expect nothing to go wrong. It’s a busy time of year for everyone, after all! This, however, is where proactive delivery notifications can come into play and save your customer’s day.
There’s no doubt that it’s best case to be able to deliver a package on time, but retailers also need to be prepared in the case that they need to deliver bad news, even if it’s not their fault. A staggering 98% of customers say they feel better if they are notified immediately when something goes wrong, so instead of relying on tracking pages to inform shoppers of delays, retailers can get ahead of disruptions—and peeved off customers—by sending proactive notifications.
Easy peasy returns
Between pre-printed labels, seasonal merchandise, and ‘Hey, where’s my refund?’ calls, returns can be expensive for retailers. But the truth of the matter is that returns are the new normal, and customers tend to come back to the brands that make it easy to bring or send items back. Instead of viewing returns as a hefty expense, retailers should start thinking about them as one more customer retention tool. Taking this a step further, the holidays offer a chance to win over new customers by giving them a seamless returns or exchange experience as their first touchpoint with the brand.
How do retailers make returns easier? First, be clear from the beginning about your return policy—nobody likes surprises when it comes to how long a return window is or how they can expect to get credit back. Secondly, brands should allow customers to initiate returns online with a step-by-step self-service process. Not only does this make it easy for the customer, it also allows you to capture information about the return reasons, products, and location upfront. Third, as with order tracking, brands can make the experience more seamless by letting customers know when their returns have been processed and refunds have been issued.
Instead of focusing solely on the volume of sales, the holidays are also time to go above and beyond as a brand to expand your customer base. By demonstrating attentiveness to your customer’s (and his or her gift recipient’s) needs during the Holiday rush, you can build a even more loyal following that could last for years to come.
For even more about how to win more customers during this most wonderful time of year, download our latest eBook: Survive & Thrive Over the Holidays: How to optimize post-purchase during retail’s busiest season.