An effective digital strategy can help you deliver the best possible customer experience to your customers this peak holiday season.
Creating eCommerce strategies for new shopping patterns and buying preferences
COVID-19 has changed how people shop. More people are shopping online. Fewer are visiting stores. These trends, as well as other changes such as demand for curbside pickup, may prove long-lasting. In our last post, we talked about three ways to make the most of a difficult peak holiday season, including making it easier for customers to pay you.
As a result of changing coronavirus and eCommerce trends, in the space of a few months, the importance of an effective digital strategy to deliver the best possible customer experience has risen sharply.
And for those with physical stores, it’s become even more important to use them to your advantage in combination with online. For example, a simple starting point is to make sure you’re communicating when your stores are open clearly through your digital channels.
1. Use your website and social media to communicate with customers
Can your customers see in seconds if your stores are open, whatever channel they’re using? If your stores are open, make sure your customers can see that quickly.
That means making sure your website’s easy to navigate—especially on mobile devices. And it means keeping your store opening times up-to-date where they’re listed on third-party sites.
Another simple and sensible thing to do is to tell your customers about the changes you’ve made to your stores to keep them safe when they shop with you. Help them feel comfortable coming in to your stores. Provide reassurance. Encourage them to visit.
Don’t forget to use social media: It’s a great way to communicate you’re open and welcome new customers.
2. Expand your eCommerce strategy and experiment with social media
Social media isn’t just good for communicating with your customers. It can also be an effective sales channel.
And with more people turning to social media for information, this year could be a good moment to experiment with selling via social media—for example, on Instagram.
With a relatively low barrier to entry, social media offers a new channel for your business. And you can leverage the same back-end resources to process orders. It can help you reach a new audience open to purchasing, cost effectively.
3. Add convenience with buy online, pick up later
For those customers who would prefer not to shop in stores due to concerns about COVID-19, a convenient option is to let them pick up their purchases from a nearby store. In other words, to buy online then pick-up later—either in-store or curbside. And with curbside pickup, they can avoid coming into the store entirely.
What if you don’t have physical stores? In that case, pop-up shops or distribution points are a good option. These provide convenience to customers without you incurring permanent overheads.
What if your digital offering isn’t yet fully fledged? In that case, a service like Virtual Terminal helps you offer a similar proposition as it lets you take payments by card over the phone for goods that customers can pick up later.
4. Keep your promises
One thing to keep in mind: as peak season approaches and order volumes go up, check your processes are setup so you can hit the service levels you promise for in-store and curbside pick-ups. Make sure you hit your time slots. Because that’s going to be critical for providing a positive customer experience.
And make sure you’re set up so you can complete all your fraud reviews in time to hit shipping deadlines—especially at the peak of peak shopping season. Avoid your customers having the poor experience of a missed delivery by making sure you know your shipping cut-off times—including time for fraud reviews—to the hour. Communicate that information in advance to your customers, on your website and via email, so they get their orders when they expect them.
5. Protect yourself against goods-not-received disputes
COVID-19 has also changed how deliveries happen.
Couriers may avoid collecting signatures for deliveries to avoid physical contact and the risk of transmission.
6. Stand out online with a competitive return policy
Here’s one more simple but effective way to make customers feel comfortable buying from you online: Make it easy for them to return goods. Consider adjusting your returns policy to offer your customers more flexibility.
And make sure your refund policy is clear and easy to find. If your customers can find this information quickly, it cuts another potential source of friction. It may even give some customers the confidence to place their order.
Create a great customer experience
Lots of small reductions in friction lead to a much smoother customer experience.
There’s one more piece to consider. What can you do to ensure your fraud management tools are in shape for this year’s peak season? And that’s the topic of our next blog.