DCR’s Guide to Holiday Personalization Pt. 2
In part one of DCR’s Guide to Holiday Personalization, we stressed the importance of forging a personal relationship with your customers during the holidays as a way to separate yourself from the competition and build long-lasting loyalty. In the second half of our guide, we turn our attention towards AI, speedy deliveries and timely returns, and the importance of an enjoyable online shopping experience.
Make Your Existing Customers Feel Appreciated
You already have your existing shoppers’ contact information, and you also have data on their preferences, likes, etc. Use this information to your advantage and make your existing customers feel appreciated to make sure that they stay your customers for the long term.
Store Experiences Set The Tone For Future Success
Store traffic is at an all-time high during the holiday season, so it’s important for businesses to prepare ahead of time. “Responsive stores” are establishments that combine customer data from online purchases, previous store visits, and mobile use to optimize holiday experiences and ensure that customers don’t feel the stress of holiday shopping.
It should come as no surprise that retail sales and traffic spike during the December holiday rush, so retailers and businesses of all kinds need all the help they can get. AI operations can help streamline processes such as inventory management, email targeting, online product search, shopper insight improvements, and more, all of which lead to a more personalized shopping experience. According to Symphony RetailAI, “73% of U.S. retailers report improvements from localized shopper insights upon leveraging AI.”
Make Sure You Offer An Excellent Online Experience
- U.S. e-commerce sales increased 20 percent during the 2017 holiday season, thanks in large part to mobile shopping
- E-commerce sales hit over $100 billion during the 2017 holiday season
- November and December account for nearly ¼ of the entire year’s e-commerce sales
- Retail e-commerce sales grew nearly 16 percent from 2016 to 2017
- 80 percent of shoppers say they are ‘highly likely’ to shop online for holiday gifts (Field Agents’ Holiday Shopping Guide)
- 53 percent say they will purchase most of their gifts online
Deliver on The Delivery
- Look, not everyone can be Amazon, but if you’re going to offer a specific delivery time, make sure you meet that expectation. There are few things more frustrating to a customer–and likely to push them away forever–than a delay in the delivery of an item they’ve already bought and paid for.
- 68% said free shipping is EXTREMELY important to their decision to shop online
- Offer customizable, self-service options, such as the ability to cancel an order or re-route to a different location. Offer these options online to give the customer flexibility while also reducing call center wait times and volumes.
‘Tis The Season To Be Jolly About Returns
Returns are on the rise, according to a recent survey by Retail TouchPoints.
- 31 percent of respondents said their returns percentages had increased over the past 18 months. Only 13 percent said they had decreased.
It’s important that retailers take steps to reduce returns and, barring that, making them less painful.
- 33 percent of Canadian shoppers say that after a negative returns experience, they won’t shop at that retailer again.
- 56 percent avoid purchasing from retailers who don’t accept free returns by mail.
- 55 percent avoid purchasing from retailers who don’t accept free in-store returns and have a nearby store.
- 61 percent shop more often from retailers who provide free returns.
- 41 percent will add more items to their cart basket if they know the retailer accepts free returns.
- 66 percent of shoppers say that before purchasing from a retailer they have never purchased from online, they check the returns policy.
It’s time to offer a better consumer and employee experience. Forget about issuing rewards or payments via cheque. Prepaid payments are the way to reward channel partners and employees for meeting sales goals, and for rewarding customers who make purchases. Combine that with the ability to monetize your payment program and everyone wins.
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