The holiday season is just about here! Stores are already gearing up for the annual monsoon of Christmas shoppers. There is so much competition for the consumer dollar that many retailers begin their Black Friday (News - Alert) campaigns so far in advance that the term ‘Black Friday’ may have become meaningless. In the race to beat their competitors to the punch, these businesses are losing sight of one of the important aspects of their success: offering a great customer experience.
According to a report in CRM Magazine, about one-fourth of online revenue is lost because of a bad customer experience online. You can attract all the traffic you want, but it does little good if customers leave your site and go to competing sites.
One example the article cited was Air France, which had a serious problem with abandonment. The airline company upgraded to a system that examined customer activity on its site. With this information it was better equipped to respond to site problems and fix them. As a result, abandonment decreased significantly.
This year represents a big shift in consumer purchasing habits. Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) predicts that 41 percent of shoppers will spend more online this year than last. Forty percent of shoppers fall into the ‘trade-off’ shopper category; they do most purchasing-related research online and will buy items online when it is cheaper than doing so at a brick-and-mortar store. Another 32 percent of are primarily online shoppers; the remainder prefer to shop in person.
With this large a shift in purchasing habits, retailers must support an omni-channel environment seamlessly if they are to remain competitive. If the customer initiates a purchase on the website and arranges for in-store pickup, representatives must be aware of any issues with the customer’s interaction online and be prepared to address them. In 2014, reducing the aggravation factor as much as possible may go further toward a retailer’s success than any Black Friday specials ever could.
Edited by Maurice Nagle