Last month we saw (and participated in) a record-breaking Amazon Prime Day. The 36 hour sale holiday saw estimated sales numbers for small and medium sized businesses alone exceed $1 billion. This demonstrates the impact that peak sales periods like this, as well as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and more, can have not only on your bottom line, but on how you operate your business overall throughout the year.
The short-term opportunity from peak sales periods is more obvious: the chance to make more money by capitalizing on the increased demand. However, while less apparent, it’s the long-term opportunity that is arguably more significant: the chance to reach new high-value consumers and turn them into brand loyal, repeat customers. These customers will spend more over time and become true advocates that promote your brand by word-of-mouth. This is where the real value lies. To take full advantage of these opportunities, and turn holiday shoppers into long-term ones, businesses should foster strong customer experiences before, during and after the shopping frenzy.
Ramping up for peak sales periods
Online and in-app purchases are continuously on the rise, with e-commerce sales expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021, according to research from Shopify. As this grows, and as peak sales periods like Amazon Prime Day and Cyber Monday continue to expand each year, businesses need to be focused on handling the influx ahead of time. Hiring seasonal teammates weeks, or even months, ahead of a busy holiday allows time to properly train new team members and ensure they are performing at the highest level before the surge in demand.
In bringing on new hires during this ramp up period, you shouldn’t change your hiring profiles. It’s important to ensure you’re adding quality talent to build out the team. You’ll likely have more direct contact with customers during peak sales periods than any other time of the year, so it’s important to hire new employees that have empathy, technical proficiency and the right mindset for delivering strong experiences to customers. This extra contact with customers is your chance to deepen existing relationships and build new ones – the CX team is the driving force behind moving this forward.
Providing strong CX during the holiday
When trying to bring in and retain new customers, especially from peak sales periods, one of your best assets is positive testimonial from your already existing ones. Studies have shown that customer testimonial and reviews are a key driver in boosting consumers to not only continue buying from a brand, but also trust in that specific company and its products/services. During a high-pressure peak sales period like Amazon Prime Day, online shoppers have limited time to take advantage of deals, making their first impression of a brand through ratings and comments even more critical. Negative reviews or comments can potentially have a major effect on how your business fares in attracting new customers.
Another key element to supporting strong CX during peak sales periods, is ensuring employees don’t experience burnout. Flexibility on things like hours of operation is required and expected, but spikes in demand shouldn’t cause a business to pull back on giving employees ample time for rest and time off or interfere with quality team meetings and opportunities for one-on-one interactions internally. Keeping a close eye on maintaining these aspects for employees during these high demand events will help ensure they don’t suffer burnout.
Keeping it going all year long
Maintaining the same level of customer experience and support once the shopping frenzy has died down will be a key driver in helping you retain new customers from an event like Amazon Prime Day. This might seem obvious, but it isn’t uncommon for businesses to revert back to how things were operated before a peak sales period. With the influx of new customers that have likely come in, this isn’t a viable option. You should assess your new demand curve and make sure your team is aligned, both in size and capability, to consistently keep customer experience and support strong.
Businesses around the world are seeing more opportunities to flex their customer experience muscles as peak sales periods continue to grow and connect more customers with more brands. We’re even seeing companies use the Amazon-model to further boost popularity, creating their own peak sales day – like the first-ever Wayfair Day earlier this year. Ensuring that you bolster your customer experience practices and empower your experience and support team before, during and after a peak sales period is the ultimate answer to how you can turn a holiday shopper into a customer for life.