2019 is coming to an end before we know it, the count down to the New Year will begin! The celebrations and parties have started and so has the planning to visit the next holiday destination with friends and family. And there’s one thing we can’t resist this season – good deals and shopping.
Retailers on the other hand have been meticulously planning, stocking and are now ready to deliver the shopping bags to customers. And when this package is delivered to a beaming customer in time, the experience and happiness lingers. This paints a pretty picture, doesn’t it?
However, imagine you are a customer shopping during this busy season, and something goes wrong. You don’t receive the beautiful dress you wanted to wear for your friend’s New Year’s party, the watch you promised your sister does not arrive on time, or the pair of shoes you ordered don’t flatter you. To add to this misery, you realise that it’s impossible to return the order and get the right size in time. Your way out of this situation is speaking to a customer service person or writing to some email id only to realize that the return process is complicated and stressful, and you give up eventually without any resolution. As much as you hate this experience, it’s also painful for retailers because all their efforts to serve their customers leading up to that last touch go in vain.
All is not lost
For retailers, this seasonal rush offers a huge opportunity to win the loyalty of two different customers in one go: The purchaser and the gift recipient. Traditionally, acquisition and conversion have been the two primary levers to drive the business. However, as consumer behaviour and expectations evolve, it’s clear that the full customer journey is a longer cycle that offers many touchpoints to engage and delight the customer—and keep them coming back.
This is the time when customers return to the trusted, tried, and tested sites as well as trying out a new brand retailer if they chance upon an enticing product or discount. Here are five magical moments that can convert these shoppers into loyal repeat customers:
Magical Moment 1: The moment a customer decides to add a product to the cart.
Getting a shopper on your website is task half done; the more crucial part is converting the sale. The information the retailer provides on the product page can impact shopper behaviour and action. Up-front communication around return policy and an accurate estimated delivery date instils customer confidence and helps manage customer expectations. These pieces become even more important in the case of gifting. The lack of confidence to gift during the holiday season is evident from a Narvar survey that states that 60% of Indian shoppers do not prefer online stores for gifting as there is no transparency and lack of control.
Magical Moment 2: The moment after purchase when delivery anticipation begins.
Last minute purchases are a common phenomenon during holiday season. Providing accurate order tracking is now expected and an essential part of the post-purchase experience. Speed, however, is not everything. While there is some level of delivery speed parity that customers expect, there are other experiential touchpoints that retailers can compete on, such as multiple delivery methods, proactive communication, and a seamless post-purchase experience. Giving customers an option to buy online and pick up in store is another feature that could work well in last minute shopping instances. As customers globally transition their shopping and post-purchase behaviour to mobile devices, it is also critical to make sure that a brand’s post-purchase touchpoints are optimized for mobile viewing and engagement.
Magical Moment 3: The moment the delivery arrives . . . or is delayed or missing.
With a surge in online shopping during the extended holiday season, some orders are bound to get delayed, lost or missed, sometimes due to the customer’s unavailability to receive the order. This leads customers to contact the retailer, increasing inbound call traffic, long hold time and unhappy customers. To reduce delivery friction and support calls about order status, retailers can offer clear proactive communication every step of the way, including when there’s a problem. Consumer research shows that 98% of customers feel better about a brand who tells them immediately when something goes wrong, so be forthcoming about delivery issues.
Magical Moment 4: The moment a customer decides to initiate a return or exchange.
Returns are an inherent part of the online shopping experience, and a seamless return solution leads to a delighted shopper. Picking out a gift for someone is tricky, but it is even trickier if the recipient gets stuck with a gift they don’t like. What makes a return experience easy, flexible, and clear? A platform that lets you initiate a return without any additional support, check return eligibility on items, track the progress of a return order, and get proactive status updates on the refund. It's important for brands to make returns convenient as 96% consumers state they will make a repeat purchase if the retailer provides an easy returns experience.
Magical Moment 5: The moment a customer decides to make another purchase.
Delivery communications of all types have strong open rates, and high click-through rates, especially when communicating about unexpected exceptions. Compared to pure marketing emails, these transactional emails capture customer attention during a moment of high anticipation and will leave them feeling cared for and more likely to return when they are ready to make a future purchase. Add more communication touchpoints and channel options to the post-purchase flow in order to better set expectations and restart the purchase cycle because proactive post-purchase emails drive re-engagement!
By optimizing these magical moments across the customer journey, retailers can keep shoppers coming back for more. These moments help improve customer satisfaction and trust, re-engage customers in the cycle with repeat purchases, and ultimately driving long-term loyalty!
The article has been penned down by Amit Sharma, Founder & CEO, Narvar