The holiday season is always a great opportunity to acquire new customers that will buy from you throughout the upcoming year.  It’s the season of little tire kicking and lots of buying.  HOWEVER, customer expectations are also at an all time high.  So how do you increase your customer base while maintaining your online reputation in the process?  Here are some tips that you can apply this week to help you prepare.

  • Set clear expectations around shipping:  It never fails, customers have unrealistic expectations around their items getting to their destinations prior to Christmas.  They wait to long, get frustrated for having to pay extra shipping and have a short fuse when something goes wrong.  To remedy this you can add a site wide message on your header saying something like “make sure you allow enough time for your items to arrive, buy today”.  You can also add text in the checkout process next to where the user selects a shipping option.  The goal of the text should be to set expectations.  Something like, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but packages take longer to get to their destination than normal. We’ll do our best to get yours there on time”.  Also include verbiage in transactional emails.
  • Add live chat for the holidays:  I know it’s exhausting and takes a lot of time, but seriously, you’re in retail, you should know you don’t get a life around the holiday season.  Adding a chat that is readily available and creating pre-developed talk tracks around shipping expectations will pay dividends for your conversion rate and your customer loyalty
  • Adjust how you handle inventory: Christmas isn’t the best time to allow backorders.  We recommend disabling backorders and if an item is out of stock, it should say that on the site.  This will allow a customer buying something and hoping the backorder can get to their destination on time, when in reality it can’t
  • Implement a no customer left behind policy: At all costs, even full refunds, you should do WHATEVER it takes to keep every client happy.  Your brand will have a lot of chatter about bad experiences online if you don’t.  Remember, the holiday season is a HUGE jump in sales, but if executed properly it should drive your growth for the upcoming year with repeat customers.

There are some longer term solutions that can help with this as well, none of which can be implemented in the next three weeks.  One of our favorites is to launch a native application.  Native apps are great for tracking orders and retaining customers.

We hope these tips will help you have a prosperous Q4 and holiday season

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