E-Commerce Tips for the 2016 Holiday Season
Go mobile. Consumers are using smartphones not just to research, browse, and buy items, but also to steer them into stores — and help them make decisions once they’re there. According to various studies, 50% of consumers who conduct local searches on smartphones end up in a nearby store within 24 hours; mobile ads that highlight a store’s inventory can increase visits by 122%; and 82% of shoppers use their phones in stores to get more information about purchases they’re about to make. Finding ways to fulfill the needs of mobile shoppers this holiday season can help retailers gain an advantage on rivals that haven’t embraced that channel yet.
Apply and expand lessons learned from customers. By continuously gathering and analyzing as much customer data as possible, retailers can stay in step with their customers’ tastes, behaviors, and desires, both collectively and individually. However, they also need to use their data-mining efforts to optimize customers’ overall site experiences by, say, identifying and eliminating process bottlenecks, unappealing messages, and other audience turn-offs. Retailers should confirm that these improvements are in place well before Black Friday arrives. They also need to make sure they’re ready to run their holiday tests — and ready to respond to compelling results with quick tactical adjustments, if necessary.
Prep the customer service team. Whenever purchase activity increases, so do questions from shoppers. It’s therefore incumbent upon retailers to ensure that their customer service agents are fully prepared for the surge of inquiries about holiday offers, shipping speeds, delivery deadlines, and whatever else might come their way. Pleasing customers these days requires an omnichannel, multi-pronged approach, before, during, and after the purchase, but the payoffs can be considerable. Satisfied shoppers are more likely both to keep coming back and to recommend high-performing retailers to family and friends.
Tom Caporaso is the CEO of premium loyalty solutions pioneer Clarus Commerce, with over 24 years of experience in the retail, e-business and customer loyalty industries. Appointed Clarus’ Chief Executive Officer in 2011, Tom’s leadership has led to exceptional growth for the once 10-person start-up which now boasts over 90 employees.
Under Tom’s guidance, Clarus has cultivated partnerships with brands and retailers such as MasterCard, FedEx, Bluestem Brands and Good Housekeeping; creating and managing premium loyalty programs that reward both the brand and its customers.
Caporaso is a noted expert in the retail, customer loyalty and e-commerce industries who contributes regularly to Nasdaq and has been frequently featured in numerous other outlets.