The infamous kick-off of holiday shopping season lurks just around the corner. This year, approach Black Friday through the eyes of your customers to boost sales not only that day, but the whole year to follow.
Look beyond the holiday season
While many customers will be walking through your door for the first time, it could also be their last. New customers can become either promoters or detractors in the following months, depending on their experience with your brand. If you exceed their expectations, you just might earn their loyalty, and that’s huge. On average, loyal customers are worth 10x as much as their first purchase (White House Office of Consumer Affairs). So you might be luring them in with steep discounts, but you’ll only keep them by demonstrating high quality products and customer service.
Don’t forget about the loyal customers you already have. They’re responsible for a good chunk of your revenue: customers with the best experiences spend 140% more than those with the poorest. Many businesses sacrifice customer experience for the high volume of sales they hope to make, shrugging off negative sentiment as an inevitable part of accommodating large crowds. These crowds are herded into the unequipped hands of temporary employees, and customer satisfaction is left entirely up to chance. Taking customer loyalty for granted this way is dangerous when 3 in 5 Americans would switch brands for a better service experience (White House Office of Consumer Affairs).
After their expected dip, sentiment levels won’t recover unless you close the loop on customer feedback either instantly or almost instantly. This means every issue you can’t resolve in real-time is still addressed and followed up on. Of course, a more proactive approach is best: your employees should make a noticeable effort to make shoppers’ experiences as enjoyable as possible, whether this means passing out hot chocolates to long lines of chilly customers, or simply providing information and a friendly face at every touchpoint.
Forsaking customer happiness for short term earnings will have a lasting backlash. Don’t shoot to win customers for a day–win them for life.
Optimize every channel
Almost 50% of consumers age 25-34 shop online using their phones while waiting in line at a store. Customers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to accomplish specific tasks within the sales process. They’re reading customer reviews, comparing prices, and watching demos. By examining how and where mobile interactions play into the path to purchase, you can enhance customer experience and drive increased sales.
Email is still a helpful avenue to keep customers informed about special offers, but since email traffic has shifted significantly to mobile, device usage should be taken into account when planning email campaigns. Strategize which offer to send and when based on the device customers are accessing at each given time of day. What platform are they using, on what device, at what time, and why? Answering these questions will help you anticipate pain points and prepare your response ahead of time.
With all these variables in the air, you must provide a consistent omni-channel experience–this just means making it easy for your customers to move between channels and providing the same offers everywhere. Develop a contextual understanding of all possible customer journeys so when your customers are in need, you’re there and you’re relevant.
Turn social channels into customer support hubs
Expect the unexpected. Best Buy experienced a massive website crash last year but responded to 90% of customer comments on social media, saving their positive image. This proves how crucial it is to stay engaged in case you need to adjust operations throughout the weekend.
Tailor the holidays to your customer
Not everyone wants simply dirt-cheap discounts. Some customers might want to earn rewards, save on bundled products, or discover related products. Curate specific offers based on your customers’ behavior and needs and they’ll know you genuinely care about them. It’s not always about the most inexpensive deal–it’s often about the most relevant deal.
Make data-driven improvements
What do your customers like most about you? About your competitors? Whether you dive into them before or after the holidays, these insights are critical to sustainable success. Improving products and services based on intel from online feedback builds the type of engaged brand that customers love. Uncover the root cause of sentiment so you can preemptively solve problems or replicate positive performance. BirdEye’s Natural Language Processing engine, Athena, does this for you.
Black Friday may seem like a daunting beast, but it’s one you can tame through customer engagement. If you use this day to secure customer loyalty and increase long-term revenues, you can celebrate the holidays all year round.