Today, consumers can find, order, and receive items in a way that works for their lives. Here's how to give shoppers more choices and flexibility this holiday season.
There’s power in choice. The more control we have, the more we can shape our lives exactly as we like. During the holidays, we choose the parties, gifts, and decorations that make the season festive, fun and special. And when we realize that we need a gift tomorrow, increasingly, we have options. Today, more than ever before, as consumers we can find, order, and receive it just in time in a way that works for our lives.
Brands can save the day for busy holidays shoppers no matter when, where, or how they need to place an order with flexible options for payment, shipping, and delivery. Keep reading to learn how to:
- Help shoppers decide how they receive their orders
- Share a real-time view of what’s in stock
- Offer flexible payment methods
1. Enable in-store pickup
If an order is especially time-sensitive or valuable, shoppers may want to “click and collect,” otherwise known as buy online, pick up in-store. This gives shoppers flexibility and control with an additional option of exactly when they receive their order and prevents porch thefts, which unfortunately ramp up around the holidays.
It’s smart for you, too, because it saves on last-mile delivery costs while driving traffic into the store. Research suggests that add-on purchases while in-store are significant drivers of the business case. So much so, that you may even consider adding an incentive if you offer this option, such as an up-sell promotion. Plus, come shipping cutoff, you still have a way to get shoppers the products they want.
The Order Process
- Include information on the product detail page to explain what click-and-collect is and how it works.
- Set shopper expectations upfront about the fulfillment timing on in-store order availability as their order will not be immediately available once they hit the buy button and that they’ll receive an alert when it’s ready.
- Over-communicate details, such as the store location and directions, and emphasize what the shopper will need to provide — such as identification or an order number — when they arrive to pick it up.
- Keep shoppers informed with notifications about order status and an ETA for pickup.
- Allow shoppers to respond to the same message if they have a problem, such as realizing they selected the wrong store. A service agent should be able to assist quickly to resolve the issue right away.
- Make it easy for shoppers by establishing a dedicated area for pickups with clear signage. Consider dedicated parking for these customers if it’s an option for your store.
- Make sure your store is prepared for order pickups by clearly mapping the process and the measurements that define what a successful order looks like.
- Staff appropriate levels of associates filling these orders as they come in.
- Establish contingency plans in the event that order volumes are higher than expected. For example, set order thresholds to manage volume to each store and have the ability to turn off click-and-collect to avoid inventory discrepancies on peak shopping days.
2. Surprise customers with inventory transparency across every channel
The holidays are especially important to keep track of inventory since everything is moving so fast — and it’s also the most critical time not to disappoint shoppers. The solution is an Inventory Availability Service, which lets you import inventory information and segment it into simple and always-accurate views with up-to-the-millisecond updates, which works hand-in-hand with click and collect.
By activating inventory across all channels, merchants can leverage inventory positions and prevent over- and under-stocking issues and inaccurate counts for specific products and locations. You can even give shoppers a location-specific view so they know exactly where they can get their hands on one of your last available must-have items.
3. Show all shipping possibilities
As the holidays near, it’s the final countdown for shipping before cutoff. Implement a shipping countdown strategy that identifies the last day for holiday ground shipping and include timely upgrade offers for three-day, two-day, and overnight shipping right up to the cutoff.
Don’t forget the power of free shipping, either. Free shipping peaked at 80% on Cyber Monday in 2018 — keep that incentive in play as long as possible.
4. Simplify payment
Make payment easy by offering flexible solutions. For example, brands that have a mobile wallet option see orders grow 14% and conversion rates double. Shoppers also spend a minute and a half less using a mobile wallet compared to traditional payment methods. Without solutions like this – multiplied by several holiday shopping transactions — shoppers end up spending a significant amount of time transacting. That’s time away from friends and family, making the holidays memorable.
5. Serve customers across any channel
Eighty-five percent of shoppers will leave a brand after one negative service interaction and there is no time when that is more relevant than the holiday shopping season. When shoppers are moving quickly, mistakes happen during and after checkout, whether that’s inputting the wrong shipping address or selecting the wrong size. Empower shoppers with the ability to connect with your service team on any channel of their choice including SMS and messaging apps to address any issues quickly and seamlessly.
Be the brand that offers all the choices for online purchases. As we approach code freeze, review everything there is to do with our 2019 Holiday Readiness Guide and visit the Holiday Readiness Headquarters for a month-by-month look at the tools and strategies to put in place. Or text FLASH to 38767 to receive Salesforce Holiday Flash Reporting SMS updates.