Article

James Wilson
James Wilson 27 November 2018
Categories Technology

A user guide: Retailers get the best out of the holiday season

Holiday Season is one of the busiest and pressurizing times for your retail business. Do struggle every year to meet the peak in demand? If you are, what you need is some sound guidance on how to make this holiday season the best time of the year for your retail business.

Unveiling Opportunities this Holiday Season:

It is that time of the year again. The holiday season is just around the corner and about to come into your line of sight.

Are you prepared for the onslaught of orders and inquiries? Is your e-commerce and in-store setup up to the task for your best season to date?

The strategies that worked last year will likely not work this time around, as Personalization through Consumer Insights is powered by Machine Learning and advanced Analytics have taken the retail game to a higher level.

Customers expect platforms to present them with options that are personalized and relevant in the context of that particular interaction. The onus is on retailers to try and create a 360-degree view of their customers by gathering structured and unstructured pieces of information and stitching them together into a coherent view that lays the foundation for Personalization initiatives.<

The most relevant gauge of retailers’ Digital Commerce success is the conversion rate. The industry average across all verticals is between 2%-5%. Whatever your numbers are right now – they need to improve during the holidays because of the seasonal shift in spending during the once-a-year opportunity to get a fraction of the $63 billion spent on Retail Digital Commerce over the holiday season by consumers using desktops. Factor in mobile usage and the numbers look even sweeter.

This shopping season presents an opportunity for you to increase and enrich your customer base. Merchants using Magento are already on the lookout for strategies that can help them make the most of this holiday season.

Records available with Magento reveal that retailers can increase their customer base by 30-50% during the holiday season by investing in the right strategies every year.

As customers take the center stage across all B2C services (including retail), merchants have no choice but to develop a plan that can boost loyalty and help acquire more customers during the Fall and Winter seasons.

To help you draft a better master plan, we have come up with a checklist of strategies you need to prioritize to deliver a winning shopping experience and improve your bottom line.

Leveraging Data to know Customers Better:

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The large streams of data that your business generates at each step of interaction with its customers are, in fact, both a challenge as well as an opportunity for your business. The moment you began in handling even an iota of this invaluable data, the result will be an inefficient and even chaotic process. on the other hand, every time you handle this data properly, you create immense opportunities. all you need to do is pick the most apt technologies ( and a wise data strategy, of course), to get insights on wholly different level.

With the rocketing expectations of modern-day customers, retailers are rushing to meet those expectations before their competitors. Additionally, the numerous interactions a business has at various customer touch-points (digital and physical), generate tremendous amounts of data.

It has become imperative for merchants to see the potential in these data piles to help them beat their competitors, and deliver the best to their customers. How do they get there? Through data analytics.

Here’s What Data Analytics can Help you Achieve:

Data visualization: Analytics enables you to obtain visual inferences in the form of dashboards and graphs.

Real-Time Stock Readings on Promotions & Sales: Data helps in taking stock of the promotions, sales, and revenue in real-time.

Personalized customer experiences: Data empowers you to understand the likes and preferences of specific customers and send personalized recommendations.

Predictive Analytics: Using this, you can forecast the demand for a specific set of products and manage your inventory accordingly.

Product portfolio management: This is about sending a combination of product recommendations to buyers. This is something you cannot achieve without looking at buying behaviors; data is the key enabler here.

Consider the example below:

Based on what a specific category of customers are searching for, buying, or abandoning, Amazon recommends products and product combinations to their customers. This recommendation is powered by data visualization, predictive analytics, and product portfolio management.

Boost Customer Experience with a Better Customer Service:

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Today’s customers are used to living in an online world where they do not have to wait in line or hold their questions until a more convenient time for the company in question. Rather, they are accustomed to receiving instant gratification. Anything less is going to pale in comparison, and if there is one area where businesses want to impress rather than annoy, it is customer service.

When you converse with a fellow human being, the expectation is that there would be an emotional connection at some level. Often, it does not happen. The volume of traffic on support lines, the long work-hours, running through a mundane script leads to emotional detachment at the service agent level. This fuels the frustration of the customer, who has already patiently waited for some time to get the service agent on the line.

This is not to say that this is always the case, but, more often than not, business customer support has rapidly become commercialized, outsourced (not necessarily off-shored), and the system runs like clockwork. The customers need to validate their identity, answer questions that appear to be a waste of time, and all of this adds to the overhead perceived by the customers.

Leverage Data to Boost Engagement:

Identify Customer Pain Points and Customize Solutions Deliver Better Experience via New Touchpoints. You can usually look back at the response to your holiday season offers in the past year and carve out a strategy. The products that remained the most in demand and the promotional campaigns that penetrated well during the last year should form the basis of your current season’s plan – taking it forward with a novel approach.

Identify Customer Pain Points and Customize Solutions:

This is about analyzing the problem faced by customers during online shopping. Your FAQs could be a great source for this. Here, you need to evaluate and test out every touch point where your customers interact with your business or brand. From placing an order through shipping, you need to discover what bothers your customers the most and how you can transform that pain point into a delightful experience.

Deliver Better Experience via New

Chatbots are the answer to this issue because they add to the customer experience and make the customer’s life a little easier. Bots provide several advantages over human interactions. They do not limit interactions to office hours. Customers can chat at a time that is convenient for them. Social listening is another great way of interacting with customers and delivering a better experience. The biggest advantage of social listening is that you can respond to customer issues in real time. Take the example below: Pink Blush is a women’s clothing brand that authentically engages and answers questions from prospective customers whenever they post a new update on Facebook.

Market Better with Personalization:

Businesses across the world are leveraging the power of personalization as a customer experience strategy. Just as an example, when it comes to e-commerce, customer responses that are elicited from recommendations made on their past preferences, browsing history, past purchases, etc are usually positive. The simple reason for this is that personalized experiences make the customer feel special.

The challenge, nevertheless, lies in managing this data into structures and putting a useful analytics framework in place.

How to Get Personalization Right:

Now that you understand the basic meaning and purpose of Personalization, it is crucial for you to know what is important to consider when using this strategy/technique effectively.

People are usually happy to share information, even down to their date of birth, but only at relevant times.

They do not like to be bombarded with information, especially when they have little time. This has the detrimental effect of being intrusive. Retail engagement effectually lightens this burden through personalization based on language, geography, and through experiences that are immersive whether they are online or offline.

The availability of various beacons helps identify in-store and digital shoppers and helps reach them offline as well.

Prepare Customized Mailers for Your Subscribers:

Keep the memory of your company fresh in their minds. Make them feel that you are reaching out to them exclusively so that they can take advantage of available discounts. Your emails should not look or even sound like annoying publicity material. It should be attractive, interesting, informative, and, most importantly, specific for the buyer.

These cookies, which you collect from your customer’s previous purchases, can be used to recommend similar products. In fact, many marketers also suggest a gender-specific approach to create even more meaningful experiences.

However, from a broader perspective, one might not want to buy a laptop bag if he/she recently bought one; or one might not want to buy a pair of women’s trousers if he/she recently gifted one to their fiancé.

Promote and Advertise on Social Media:

Be it, buyers, startups, SMBs, or enterprises, paid ads to seem to be benefitting one and all. Consequently, all the prominent sellers are using it to their advantage. Social media is the best source for escalating sales and reaching out to a larger crowd, as well as having localized appeal. The critical affair here< is using your social media as

Let’s see the case of Facebook. With something as simple as a Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram page, you gain the ability to promote upcoming or ongoing sales and offers and gain so much visibility as paid ads may never offer. Social media platforms, like Facebook, are regularly introducing new updates to help advertisers track return users.

Optimize for Various Touchpoints Across Customer Journey:

If you fail to catch up with the number one trend of the times - mobility - you can very well forget about success. Since more than 50% of global website traffic comes from mobile devices, responsive websites and mobile apps are imperative for customer acquisition as well as retention.

Ignoring mobile touch points can be a real deal breaker when it comes to businesses.

Take the example below:

Based on the buying behavior, search history, and information provided by customers, many leading eCommerce businesses send out personalized recommendations to their customers.

Make the Shopping Process Easier for your Customers:

Imagine that you go to a store, pick up your goods, go to the checkout counter and suddenly there is a stating ‘Counter Closed for the Day’. How disheartening is that?

Additionally, you will certainly not want to put your customers in this situation because they have numerous other options to pick from; they may not consider coming back to your store, which caused them such an inconvenience and disappointment. Nevertheless, you can prevent this situation from being more customer-centric and empathetic during the sale season.

Easy Checkout and Free Shipping:

If you let the visitors carry out a smooth selection, comparison, and finalization; then why not improve the whole experience by making the checkout process less pestering. Give them ample options to make their payments; however, do not compromise security settings. Documenting the processes as well as terms & conditions makes it easier and imperative for the customer to comply with them.

You can save credit/debit card details to make the future transactions faster and easier. Moreover, nothing impresses buyers more than free and quick shipping facilities.

Coupons and Limited Period Offers:

We all crave it: the additional discount coupons are a delight for us. To us, it is like savoring ice cream treats after a fun-filled family dinner. These coupons just make buyers feel: ‘why not shop some more and make the most of this opportunity!’

Moreover, when you send a mailer to the customer telling him or her about this special coupon he/she feels like an esteemed client of your store. Nobody hates this feeling.

Non-promotional Greeting e-Cards:

Do not be a seller all of the time; although it is often frustrating. You can be a humble promoter and wish your clients Happy Holidays when they are looking forward to greetings rather than being bombarded by promotional offers.

Keep Updating Website Inventory to Avoid Disheartened Customers:

To understand this better, take the following example: If you have planned a Special Sale from 4pm to 8pm, then make sure that you remove the content or banner displays after the sale is over. It is often an off-putting situation for a buyer when he/she sees that he/he missed a certain sale.

Ensure A/B Testing:

You cannot ascertain what resonates with your customers unless you test it out. All of your sales, promotions, and checkout processes are subject to A/B testing before you expect significant conversions.

Do Not Miss a Call to Action for Conversion:

Driving traffic and ensuring conversions is your greatest reward during the holiday season. You must ensure the inclusion of call to action keywords in your content, especially with a holiday sale appeal in it. You need to be careful about these two things: your call to action buttons must be noticeable to the user and your blog posts, press releases, emails, re-marketing efforts, and even your landing page should clearly include these.

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