Holiday shopping is not what it used to be, plain and simple. The days of waiting in line for the perfect gift for grandma on Black Friday are over. With more convenient buying channels, most customers prefer to shop online than in-store, but times are changing... again.
“In a surprise to no one, online sales are expected to reign supreme in 2022, with Adobe predicting 2.5% growth in online sales November 1-December 31” (Forbes). While early discounting and the current economic state play large roles in the small growth of e-commerce, this allows us to predict that more consumers will shop in-store than in previous years.
The pandemic has greatly influenced consumer purchasing processes. While businesses were forced to shut their doors, consumers relied on the convenience and safety of the internet to supply all of their wants and needs. What was once a luxury or a must to snag the best deal has now become the norm.
If you are in a people-facing industry, it’s likely you are also experiencing the slight shift from in-person to online. Doordash and Grubhub have taken over by storm. Mobile grocery ordering for pick up is a necessity now. Early check in is only accessible on their app. You get my drift.
But it you haven't noticed by your trip to the grocery store this week, brick and mortar is making quite the comeback. It’s crucial more than ever to amplify your holiday experiences by providing an exceptional customer experience in-store. Here’s how you can strive this season with your in-store foot traffic…
Start a loyalty or rewards program! Loyalty programs can be used to increase customer retention by incentivizing current customers. From freebies, discounts, sales or early access opportunities, deciding what to incorporate into your program can be jarring, but the payoff is well worth it! Customers are more engaged and willing to continue to do business with brands that recognize and appreciate them. Loyalty programs drive more customer referrals, higher sales volumes and a voice for brand advocacy, getting your business in front of new customers through word of mouth (Shopify).
Loyalty programs are independently built and should be curated to showcase your strengths as a business. Perhaps giving away freebies immediately as a ‘welcome bonus’ may not be suitable for your business; however, you can encourage consumer loyalty through the promotion of recurring visits and forcing your customers to earn points in exchange for incentives or other discounts (or something of other value). Through the development of a loyalty program, whether that be point based, tiered or paid, you are sure to increase repeat business.
Shopping during the holiday season used to feel different; warm and special. What was once fun and exciting has become a forgettable experience, centered around being economical and convenient. “There's an opportunity for brands to build trust and loyalty by designing a better and more human experience for shoppers, identifying key moments of impact and infusing those moments with thought, care and connection” (CMSWire), said Maloney, associate partner and director of Strategy and Analytics at VSA Partners.
In the hospitality vertical, there is a need for creative and innovative thinking to elevate human touchpoints. Stepping away from sole convenience to bring the nostalgia of the season is crucial… something Amazon does well. Amazon sent out their non-digital kids’ holiday toy magazine, sparking engagement and bringing holiday delight to children of all ages. How can your business compare? What can you do to bring the thoughtful, human element back into play this season?
Due to the pandemic, the shopping scene was forced to rapidly change. Not only do customers enjoy the hybrid experience of online and in-store shopping, but they expect the same level of personalization, regardless of the channel. It’s important to know who your ideal shopper is… and exactly what they are looking for. Once identified, your team can work diligently to increase and retain your loyal customers. With a thorough plan, you’ll be able to identify what your customers want, when they want.
Mystery shopping offers incredible insights to the level of personalization expected by your end user. From the greeting offered, to upselling, to the cashier… all these bases are covered with a program through CustomerOptix. Our pre-designed questionnaires allow you to sit back and relax, while our evaluators gather objective data needed for you to determine critical insights and enforce change. With no contractual obligations, what are you waiting for?
“Delivering a great customer experience during the busy holiday season means balancing technology and human interaction while preparing agents with appropriate staffing and resources to serve customers” (Forbes). Amplify your holiday experience with a program through CustomerOptix. You won’t be disappointed with your results!