For their Winter Holiday Shopping Survey, PriceGrabber asked 2,887 US online shopping consumers about their plans for the next few weeks. The most significant piece of data to come out of the survey is this:
69% of consumers plan to shop at the same retailers as they did last year.
When asked why, 70% said they would remain loyal to certain retailers because of good customer service.
This is significant because customer service is the one area where a smaller retailer has a chance of beating the big boys. Small retailers can’t slash prices to match Walmart. They certainly can’t price competitively and still offer free shipping. And they can’t beat the selection at Amazon. But they can go above and beyond to make sure their customers find great gifts without a lot of effort.
This could mean putting together bundles of products. For example, I wanted to make Christmas cards this year, so I went shopping for a card kit. Every store told me forget it – you’re better off picking items off the shelf and combining them yourself. But that left me with hundreds of mix and match options – I was overwhelmed and I left the store.
The smart salesperson would have used their knowledge to help me build a collection. Choose these cards and these stamps and this ink. . . You know where I found my kit? On eBay. I bought one from a small scrapbook store owner who created a collection of matching items. All I had to do was push buy and now I have everything I need to be a success.
That’s customer service.
Here’s another, real life example. I bought another item from a different seller who had trouble fulfilling my order because her distributor didn’t fulfill hers. She emailed me the next day and offered an immediate refund or I could wait and she’d add some freebies to my order for the inconvenience.
I chose to wait because who doesn’t want free goodies. That seller went from being a disappointment to a favorite with one, honest email.
Convenience is All Part of the Service
55% of online shoppers said they like the convenience of shopping online with an easy checkout process. This is the advantage online sellers have over the brick and mortar stores- customers can shop at midnight, they don’t have to go out in bad weather and they can browse while sipping hot coffee for hours and hours.
Take advantage of this. Send an email to your customers suggesting this cozy image of shopping in your pajamas with a snack while you watch TV. Holiday shopping is stressful and it should be fun, so do whatever you can to make shopping more enjoyable and your customers will spend even more this holiday season.
Speaking of which:
Clothing is a tricky item to buy online but gift cards, books, DVDS and toys are a breeze. The customers are out there and they want to shop online but it’s up to you to convince them to click and click again.
You can see the full PriceGrabber infographic when you CLICK HERE.