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The John Lewis ad has been released, the decorations are up and holiday campaigns are in full swing. All of which can only mean one thing: Christmas is coming.
In this technological age, it’s crucial for retailers and logistics businesses to keep pace with ever-increasing consumer expectations. Yet our recent report revealed the startling statistic that 1 in 5 consumers actually believe that good customer experience is declining.
At this time of year more than any other, the pressure is on. As always, retail sales will rise sharply in December. So how can you prepare for one of the busiest times of year and capitalise on the increase in demand?
We’ve complied some top tips to help your business thrive in the holiday season and beyond.
1 – Get up close and personal
47% of consumers believe that good communication has the biggest impact on customer experience. So, during the festive season, you’ll do well if your communications are relevant, timely and personalised.
First up, avoid the scattergun approach. Historically, retailers have always prioritised acquisition with a myriad of emails featuring non-specific promotions. However, mass marketing is not only a waste of time and resource, but one of the main reasons consumers unsubscribe from communications.
Instead, leverage data from transactions and interactions customers have already had with your brand to automate personalised messages. When you consolidate CRM data and marketing activity across all your channels, you’ll ensure that you’re not bombarding your customers with irrelevant messages.
However, data gives you the power to contact them at opportune moments, for example to remind them about the gift they’ve been looking at or to tell them that stock is running low. You could also offer an incentive discount based on their browsing and transactional history.
2 – A customer is for life, not just for Christmas
It’s great to up your game at this time of year – but you’ll see more benefits in the long term if you don’t view the Christmas push as a one-off campaign. Instead, see Christmas as an opportunity to retain your customers and ensure they come back in the New Year.
That means prioritising retention strategies – which directly impact your bottom line – rather than simply focusing on acquisition.
Optimise your communications across all channels and devices and you’ll give your customers a Christmas to remember. Highly personalised and relevant communications demonstrate your value, keeping customers coming back time and time again once the New Year arrives.
3 – Tis the season to be jolly, not stressed
At this busy time of year, the last thing your customers want is a stressful shopping experience and delivery timescales that don’t meet their requirements.
Our recent report found that 26% of consumers considered better delivery options to be a pull factor. What’s more, research by Metapack shows that 45% of customers had abandoned a shopping session because they couldn’t get their delivery when they wanted it.
The message for retailers and logistics companies is clear. You need to be able to deliver what your customer wants, when they want it. And that means joining forces and sharing data to deliver a seamless customer experience. Give your customers the right delivery options (and meet your obligations) and they’ll stay with you rather than shopping elsewhere.
4 – Don’t neglect the in-store experience
There’s no doubt that we’re living in a digital age.
However, 25% of consumers say that a disappointing in-store experience is a key driver for them to go to a competitor. What’s more, 36% of customers are drawn to retailers that offer a better in-store experience.
All of which means it’s important to focus on getting people through the door – and delivering an exceptional experience once they’re there. Think about original and attention-grabbing tactics to make the experience memorable. For example, Topshop now have hairdressers in some of their stores.
It’s crucial to integrate your digital transformation initiative into the high street experience. But leveraging your customer location data to deliver timely in-store promotions doesn’t go far enough. Instead, use the entire customer profile (including behavioural data) to optimise customer engagement and the quality of your in-store experience.
5 – Tap into your customers’ emotions to capitalise on festive goodwill
Christmas is the season for generosity and giving. As such, it gives you the ideal opportunity to tap into your customers’ emotions to encourage them to buy more.
Successful marketing communications always engage your customers’ emotions. Yet you only need to look at the emotive Christmas adverts released by the big retailers every year to understand the potential for gaining brand exposure and sales at this time of year.
Remember, customers are in a buying mood and actively want to be sold to. Engage their sentiments with a cohesive marketing strategy across all your touchpoints and you’ll deliver a successful Christmas campaign and will continue to feel the love for your brand into the New Year.
Get the Christmas customer experience right and you’ll add to the festivities. Get it wrong and you’ll be left shouting ‘bah, humbug’ as you lose out to the competition.
Download our exclusive report – Managing The Fragile Customer Experience In The Information Age – to find out how you can proactively boost customer engagement.