Christmas can be a great opportunity to secure new customers, and a good experience with personalised service can lead to higher retention rates. Howard Williams, Marketing Director at Parker Software looks at how live chat software help manage high volumes of festive customers.
♪ You’d better log on
You’d better say hi
Shoppers are coming
And spending is high
‘Cause Santa Claus is shopping online ♪
This year, Santa Claus is shopping online. (And so is the rest of the UK, apparently.) Reports suggest that Brits are set to spend more on Christmas this year than ever before, with a noticeable spike on digital consumer spend.
For e-retailers, websites are about to be blitzed with buying fever. The increase in online Christmas shopping means that your ecommerce experience needs to be easy, efficient and, importantly, engaging. So, how can businesses step up? Howard Williams, marketing director at Parker Software, investigates.
Spend increase this Christmas
In 2016, Britain was already considered the ‘biggest Christmas spending nation in Europe’. This year, the average Christmas spending of Brits is forecast to rise by as much as 12.5%. According to Adobe, UK consumers expect to spend 53% of their Christmas budget online in 2017, and a further 21% expect to spend more online than last year. In fact, the amount spent through online Christmas shopping is expected to rise by 11.8% compared to last year.
Online and mobile services are on the path to claiming a record share of Christmas spending. Out of every £5 spent over the holidays, £2 of it will be spent through online services. As shoppers, we’re spending less time scrabbling around in supermarket aisles, and more time scrolling our way through Christmas shopping.
Baby, it’s cold outside
So, why are we shopping through screens instead of stores? In a survey on globalbankingandfinance.com, 23% of consumers gave a reason as simple as a desire to avoid the annoying, repetitive Christmas songs that every shop inevitably blasts. (There’s only so many times you can hear Jingle Bells in any one day.)
The biggest reasons for going online given, however, were to avoid the crowds and queues characteristic of high-street shopping. In fact, 77% of shoppers avoid physical stores during the
hectic holiday season. As well as dodging the chaos, online shoppers can also dodge the winter weather. In typically British logic, why be cold, wet and hassled when you could be at home?
Online traffic jam
The increased traffic to your website means you need to create the best possible online user experience. Just like in a physical retail environment, your digital customers want quick, attentive service.
After all, customers are only visiting you online to save time and hassle. They expect a smooth experience that’s superior to what they’d receive in-store – which means no complex checkout process, no unclear delivery information and no lack of real-time support.
Even online, Christmas shopping can be tense. Consumers want to find that perfect gift, for the right price, and have it delivered to the right place at the right time. That’s not always as easy as it sounds.
Avalanche of customer needs
♪ Customers are browsing your site
Found something they like
Want to find out how to order tonight
‘Cause Santa Claus is shopping online ♪
To help these festive shoppers, your website needs to be easy to navigate, have a friendly user interface, and supply a stress-free, supportive experience. A clean, clear website is a great starting point. But to give Christmassy customer care, you need to be there. Your online service, in short, needs to match your offline service. This means that live chat software becomes imperative. Instant online support is a fantastic way to provide a substitute for the service that you’d find on the high street. And, due to its relaxed nature, live chat gives your online shop the friendly face that the physical presence can with smiling employees.
A golden opportunity
Christmas can be a great opportunity to secure new customers, and a good experience with personalised service can lead to higher retention rates. Not only does live chat software help you manage high volumes of festive customers, but it will help you personalise every piece of service during and after Christmas.
For your shoppers, live chat is easy to use and convenient. For your agents, customer issues can be resolved as they appear, which increases conversions. Plus, a chat option can be personalised and integrated into your website’s user interface, and placed in a way that allows customers to access it at any point of their online shopping. Shoppers get all the benefits of employee help, without the hustle and bustle of busy shop floors.
One thing is certain: Santa Claus is coming to browse. Businesses had better watch out and be ready for the rush.
By Howard Williams