At the Intersection of Maximum Connection and Minimal Contact
It's 2020 and the eCommerce world finds itself in an interesting place. On one hand, the lifespan of eCommerce is at a point where consumer connection matters more than ever. Customer Experience tops the list of what retailers strive for each day.
In fact, the Qualtrics XM Institute's 2020 report found that 77% of senior executives believe improving Customer Experience is important over the next three years. And for good reason. The same report quantified the impact of a Customer Experience strategy that's above industry average: Revenue Growth and Profitability Growth are 51% and 43% higher than those who are below industry average.
Yet at the same time, we are at the hands of the COVID-10 global pandemic. Consumers are seeking what Deloitte calls a "contactless" holiday. While most forecasters are predicting overall holiday sales to be stable with a slight increase, it's the medium that will shift the most. eMarketer thinks eCommerce sales will jump a whopping 35.8% to $190.47 billion. Depending on who you ask, eCommerce sales could make up 18% (eMarketer) to 30% (Salesforce) of total retail sales.
In short, brands find themselves at the intersection of Maximum Consumer Connection and Minimal Consumer Contact.
Buckle up, this is going to be fun!
The Shift to Consumer Empowerment
The truth is, consumers have been slowly taking the reins for some time now. Even without COVID, in this climate — with shopping habits moving online, the influence of social media, consumers' hyper focus on price (and the subsequent shrinking margins) — only brands who adopt a customer-first strategy will succeed.
What does this mean? It means that brands have to know their customers. That means listening to them and creating meaningful relationships. Luckily, the tools required to meet consumers at this intersection have been taking shape for some time.
Integrate Consumer Connection Into Your Processes This Holiday
Product Reviews Take the Holiday Spotlight
According to a survey by our partner Bazzarvoice, shared by Women's Wear Daily, product reviews are the second most important decision factor this holiday season, preceded only by price. That's a powerful thing to know. So how can brands take this insight to task this season?
- Ensure all important properties and channels are populated with fresh, high quality reviews. Hint: they don't all need to be 5 stars to win sales.
- Make a plan to respond to important reviews in a timely manner.
Be there for Shopper Questions
One of the most influential forms of User Generated Content (UGC) to emerge in past few years is Questions & Answers. Allowing shoppers to ask questions and have them answered by real customers is a huge benefit that can resolve uncertainties and also reduce return rates.
It's not only good for brands to be part of the Q&A conversation, it's also a unique opportunity to be present in an otherwise exclusive, consumer-to-consumer arena. With some customer questions, it is expected that the brand respond. For others, customers could inadvertently give an incorrect answer. In either case, your response is vital to maintaining integrity of information about your brand and product.
Win Them Over All Over Again in the Post-Purchase Experience
Many of us have already experienced shipping delays during the pandemic, and analysts are predicting that there will be a shipping and delivery frenzy this year. Salesforce is predicting delays in "last-mile delivery", where delivery providers will most likely exceed capacity. They say 700 million packages are at risk of not arriving on time. In addition to the normal holiday uptick in customer service tickets, this is sure to add to the load.
Keeping in touch with your valued customers during this unprecedented time can make all the difference. Our sister company Cloud Conversion is the #1 software for integrating everything about eCommerce into one login. When we say everything, we mean everything:
- Product Information Management
- Inventory and Demand Planning
- eCommerce Platforms
- Marketplaces and Channels
- Shipping and Fulfillment (Order Management)
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Reporting and Analytics
No matter what tools you use to accomplish it, take consumer connection to the next level this holiday season. Let's maintain our distance while still feeling a sense of togetherness during this special time. We'll get through unique time in our history together!