E-commerce Strategies to Prepare for the Holiday Rush

ecommerce-strategies-for-the-holiday-season

There is just something about the holiday season that inherently makes us happy. Be it the Halloween costume shopping, celebrating Eid, or getting ready to welcome our good old friend Santa while setting the table for the Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a happy and cheerful vibe all around.

While the celebration is in the air, this is one of the busiest times for many businesses especially the e-commerce sector. The online orders increase and so does the need for customer support. The first-time buyers, your regular customers, vendors, and all stakeholders need to have a seamless experience.

Buyer Behaviour is Changing… Recent Trends in the E-commerce Sector

The year 2020 has been a rollercoaster would not be an understatement. There were and still are so many uncertainties. However, among all this, there is still a ray of hope – the festivities. The pandemic sure changed a lot of things and the e-commerce industry is no exception. Some of the common trends that have emerged or are expected to affect online shopping or e-retailers are:

  • Travel restrictions leading to online gifting
  • More online shopping due to seasonal sales and discounts
  • Limited physical store visits to redirect customer traffic to e-commerce websites
  • More online shopping means more customer queries and requests

With the knowledge of emerging trends, hopefully, the contact centers will be in a better position to manage the holiday rush.

Strategies to Drive the Best Customer Experience

Knowing about the e-commerce trends is only the beginning, it is important to convert the learnings into actionable insights. Let us look at some of the ways to boost the E-commerce customer service experience.

Utilizing the Right Customer Engagement Channels

It’s no secret that your customers prefer some communication channels over others. However, with omnichannel integration, you can ensure that irrespective of the channel through which the customer reaches you, their issue resolved. With social media owning our lives, we are seeing people choosing digital channels over the more traditional channels like phone or email. Customers would rather engage over WhatsApp or have a chat than bear long wait time on a call.  Business heads and managers need to study the engagement pattern and identify the most effective communication channels and then create a customer engagement strategy that yields the best results. 

Setting Customer Expectations

With the pandemic affecting the shopping schedule along with the travel restrictions, many are pre-ordering stuff to be delivered on time. However, contact center executives are as it is swamped and juggling multiple tasks. So, informing your customers about possible delays in response time due to high demand is a responsible thing to do.

Setting pre-recorded IVR prompts or provisioning scheduling callback at a convenient time can not only help the agents be more productive but also keep the customers informed. While doing all of this, publishing your return, exchange or refund related policy on the website can also help to reduce mundane requests. Keeping your customers informed about your business timings, expected wait time or any change in the order status are some of the ways to effectively reduce the shopper’s anxiety.

Make the Best of AI-enabled Bots

It is important to categorize customer queries to identify which of them can be automated. For instance, a simple where is my order kind of a question can be answered by a chatbot and does not need an agent to resolve it. However, the payment-related issues might require an agent’s assistance. So, knowing what is critical and requires human intervention significantly reduces the agents’ workload.

The good news is that now we have artificially intelligent bots – chatbot and voicebots to make the customer support executives’ lives much much easier. Imagine you searching for a branded handbag on Google. While getting the search results you get an option to “message” the brand directly, without even visiting their website and get details of the product there and then – thus, converting the customer even before they visit the website using Google’s business messaging. Here you can integrate a chatbot to handle routine queries while having the option to seamlessly transfer the conversation to a live agent when required.

Gearing Up for the Holiday Rush During the Pandemic

We are living in uncertain times. COVID-19 sure has bummed all of us. However, it has also opened new possibilities. For instance, with contactless interactions became the new norm, we saw video chat emerging as a popular channel to resolve customer support requests. People who used to visit the brick and mortar store to browse clothes and other things and return or exchange in person are now doing it over a video call using video contact center technology – all the while adhering to social distancing norms. The year might have been a tough one but let’s end it with a bang and on a positive note. Enjoy the festivities and gear up for the New Year, with new possibilities. Happy Holidays!