3 Customer Experience Lessons from the Holiday Shopping Season


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Customer Experience Holiday LessonsConsumers prepared to spend more this holiday season are looking for ways to add additional value to their purchases. For retailers who can deliver consistent customer engagement throughout the holiday shopping season, this translates to more value for the customer's money, increased brand loyalty and a better return on investment. This holiday season, retailers should diversify their approach to customer engagement by thinking outside the brick and mortar store and the ecommerce cart. Successful customer engagement leverages a multi-channel (or omnichannel) approach, big data analytics and a smoother, mobile-optimized website to reach more consumers.

Shoppers Embrace Omnichannel

Omnichannel offers shoppers a seamless approach to both ecommerce and brick and mortar shopping across all available shopping channels. Social tools make it easier for shoppers to purchase from stores and online retailers in person, on computers and from smartphones and tablets. Shoppers can read item and retailer reviews for more empowered shopping, receive more personalized service from retailers who can access customer history and likes and socially engage with retailers to enhance the shopping experience. While omnichannel shopping can revitalize retailers' holiday seasons, it offers year-round benefits as well.

Big Data & Personalization Fills the Gap Between In-store and Online Shopping

Data including customer profile, shopping history and other contextual information not only improves your engagement with consumers across all channels. Retailers should strive to leverage the power of big data across devices and channels to deliver highly-targeted, personalized and contextually-relevant experiences to shoppers. They can use real-time shopper search data to target ads, showcase products available in nearby stores and give the customer the option to save on shipping by buying online and picking up in a store. Alternately, they might incentivize retail browsers, who view products then buy online for less, by offering mobile discounts and promotions specific to items they've viewed By targeting all customers with personalized information, stores can increase their ROI this holiday season and all year-round.

Improving Ecommerce Shopping Experience 

Successful ecommerce takes the pressure off retailers to meet all customer needs in store. In 2012, 139.4 million consumers shopped on websites over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, the National Retail Federation found. In order to see a return on investment from retail websites, retailers must optimize the site for shoppers. They can start by ensuring that their ecommerce Web host offers adequate bandwidth to support the spike in customer traffic and that the website's navigation is clear. A slow site will turn off consumers and lead them to shop elsewhere. 89 percent of adult U.S. shoppers stopped shopping at a website as a result of a poor user experience, a Harris Poll found.

Retailers should start tailoring their seasonal approach early and use analytics and social media to track performance. Sharing promotions, discounts and merchandise previews can incentivize consumers to shop, share and tweet their purchases, resulting in more business. These strategies do take time to develop but ultimately help retailers keep pace with modern shoppers' expectations, and demonstrate profits this holiday season.

Amy Bishop
Amy works in marketing and digital strategy. Specializing in social business, Amy focuses on the convergence of marketing, digital strategy and customer experience - developing strategies to help companies increase sales, lead generation, web traffic and brand awareness. Connect with Amy on Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest.


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