Retailers are in the thick of festive season game play. With consumers making their purchases at least once a month, retailers have to make sure they have their e-commerce game strong. With faster delivery times now assumed, and click-and-collect widely accepted, what can retailers do to differentiate their brands and stand out from the competition to win that consumer dollar?
1) Be where your customers are
There is a significant increase in the number of people shopping online and purchasing directly via a social media channel. Social media platforms are now enabling purchases in-app, making it easier for consumers to hit the ‘buy’ button immediately. This could be a draw for consumers, who are already looking for reviews online. Consumers believe recommendations from friends and family, and even online reviews, over all forms of advertising.
As they rely on reviews to make product decisions, many consumers also share their personal opinion of products to the online community. With Singaporean consumers’ online expenditure expected to grow 55 percent from 2014 to 2017, and mobile commerce growing 190 percent within the same time period, there is no better time than now for retailers to embrace selling on social media.
2) Make the gift-buying experience more enjoyable for users
Festive sales used to mean crowds and discomfort before consumers are able to purchase amazing deals (think pre-Chinese New Year rush at shopping malls). Consumers have gone online to escape the crowds and do their festive shopping from the comfort of their own homes. With 48 percent of businesses supplying offers or promotions based on customers' previous purchases online, businesses can compete for their dollar through compelling, creative and personalised content.
Frequent exposure does increase purchase intent, but marketers must take care to avoid advertisement fatigue; shoppers will get tired of being exposed to the same message, in the same format, 24/7. We suggest making use of the many forms which advertisements can come from; marketers can rotate three to five creative messages per week to expose the target audience to the message multiple times throughout the holiday season, or make use of interactive videos.
3) After-sales customer service is as important as pre-sales
The purchase experience doesn’t end at the checkout cart. According to a Deloitte study, 70 percent of purchase decisions being made in-store and 68 percent of in-store purchases during the festive season are impulse buys. Consumers may then take to social media to announce their regretful purchases. This is where good customer service can step in and help build brand image.
For example, research from Twitter and Applied Marketing Science shows that when an airline responded to a customer’s tweet in less than six minutes, the customer was willing to pay almost $20 more for that airline in the future. This finding can play out in the best way during holidays; two in five respondents in a Twitter Festive Research survey said that they plan to visit their family during the festive season. Having online customer service that addresses post-purchase concerns can greatly improve brand perception and increase the likelihood of future buys.
Maya Hari is managing director of Southeast Asia and India for Twitter