Posted 04 December 2014

Can Christmas Bring Out the Best in Brands?

Black Friday has passed, Cyber Monday has come and gone, and the Thanksgiving turkey has been digested, now all that’s left for retailers is to make the most of the last three weeks before the big day, Christmas. The National Retail Federation announced it expects sales in November and December to increase 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion. Holiday sales are expected to represent approximately 19.2% of the retail industry’s annual sales of $3.2 trillion.

How can brands compete to get a piece of this very large holiday pie?

Accessibility 

Consumers make some of the most expensive purchases of the year during the Christmas season. A key part of the purchasing process is researching information about the products and services they intend to buy. Unfortunately, because of the glut of information available, consumers may not find the answers to all of their questions online, prompting them to pick up the phone and call the brand directly.

A ResponseTap survey reveals that 74% of consumers gain confidence and peace of mind from speaking to someone over the phone. If a consumer is confident, 1/3 of them will make the purchase. Therefore, making your brand more accessible to the consumer will have a positive impact on your bottom line. 34% of respondents also said that speaking to a well-informed operator makes them more likely to purchase. Savvy brands can track the customer journey from online to off using call-based marketing automation to offer a more customized purchasing experience.

Support

When consumers call on you for assistance in making purchasing decisions, it’s important to offer them stellar phone support. Holiday shopping can be a stressful and time-consuming experience for the consumer, when opting to reach out to brands via phone, 58% want to speak to one person, avoiding the hassle of being passed from one rep to another. Moreover, 57% of consumers would prefer to speak to a U.S. based rep, as the ability to relate to a call operator strengthens brand loyalty for 32% of American consumers. Therefore, it’s not only important to offer support, but to offer the personalized support that the consumer wants.

Sharing

Christmas is a time for sharing, of not only gifts and good cheer; consumers are also eager to share their experiences after making a purchase. 78% say they would share a great customer service experience with friends and family, while 26% would also share it with their social networks. The average adult has 338 Facebook friends, 208 Twitter followers and belong to 10 or more LinkedIn groups. In this internet-connected world, word of mouth can quickly spread from one consumer to an extended network of millions. The best way to leverage this phenomenon is to create phenomenal customer experiences, your customers will take care of the rest.

GE Capital Retail Bank’s Major Purchase Shopper Study found that 88% of consumers go online before heading out to the store to make a major purchase. However, 42% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after speaking with someone on the phone. Brands that create a seamless customer experience between these two channels can realize a significant increase in revenue this holiday season.

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