The holiday season is approaching and it can help determine whether 2018 was a year of growth or stagnation for your retail brand. New technologies have shifted consumer expectations, changing the necessary preparatory work that a brand must complete to ensure a bountiful holiday season. Adopting these novel methodologies as a cog in your brand experience platform can help your team encourage high levels of customer engagement across different points along the customer journey. Specifically, this holiday season will be shaped by the increased use of mobile devices to purchase products and organizations leveraging AI-technology as a tool for customer service and product recommendations. If your team is not set up to succeed within these parameters, it will be challenging for your retail brand to reach benchmarked goals this holiday season.
The first step to encouraging customer engagement this holiday season is to understand where customers are finding and interacting with your brand. Meeting customers where they already are reduces the effort it takes to find your brand. In the existing marketplace, this means that your retail brand needs to be fully optimized for customers to complete their purchasing journey on their mobile devices. This holiday season, 46% of all orders are expected to be placed on a smartphone. Your website and eCommerce store needs to have the capability to offer product insights, customer support, purchasing options and any other service request. Because we know that consumers are already completing their holiday shopping on mobile devices, consider adding incentives that push customers further towards this channel. If your mobile identity is clunky, tacky or malfunctioning, consumers will move on to the next available option without a second thought.
Beyond optimizing your mobile eCommerce and customer service capabilities, your brand can leverage smartphones as a tool to improve the in-store customer experience. It is estimated that 83% of 18-44-year-old consumers will use their mobile phones inside a retail store. In action, this could be sending push notifications that offer incentives to customers strolling through your aisles. By engaging customers where their attention is already focused, your brand is positioning itself to increase the likelihood of that customer going through with the purchase. Additionally, you can utilize mobile devices as a tool to provide in-store support, molding your customer support technology and employee knowledge into one omnichannel customer engagement system.
In addition to mobile devices, AI-technology could play a potentially massive role for retail success this holiday season. In fact, AI-based product recommendations are projected to account for 35% of all sales this holiday season, a 25% increase from last year. Enhanced technology has allowed for more personalization within these recommendations. By showing customers the products of which they are already interested, your retail brand is proving that it is dedicated to investing in reducing the amount of effort it takes to find a great holiday gift. While this investment in technology may be expensive, the relationships it helps your brand form with consumers will position your brand for continued success.
This holiday season will be dominated by online shopping once again, but there are several opportunities for disruption. Whether it is voice-activated technology like purchasing items through an Amazon Alexa, which have recently implemented holiday specific voice-activated skills and capabilities, or automatically-generated product recommendations, success this holiday season requires an investment in technology that makes consumers’ lives easier. Ensure your retail brand enters the new year on a positive note by optimizing your organization to take on these evolving holiday season trends.
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