Challenge: 'Tis the season for customers to think "sale." However, while customers are concentrating on transactions, companies need to think beyond the holidays. We hope the following four tips will help you move beyond "quickie transactions" for the 2013 holiday season to creating relationships for 2014 and beyond.
1. Understand the journey customers take with your company, from prospect to loyal customer. Know what each customer segment requires and deliver on your brand promise at every stage of their customer journey. See our previous article DM News Spotlight Article, The Sales Funnel is Dead.
2. Be a Holiday Shopping Resource.
Consumers will be receiving hundreds, if not thousands, of sales offers. By asking them to tell you about their needs and then helping with personalized solutions, you will cut through the clutter and create a competitively differentiating shopping experience.
3. Be Multi Channel.
Showrooming is not a threat, it is a reality. Showrooming occurs when shoppers are at a retail location and use their mobile devices to research prices or terms at competitive online merchants. More than three quarters of shoppers have examined merchandise in a brick-and-mortar store and ultimately purchased that merchandise at a lower price, online, according to new data from CFI Group's Holiday Retail Spending Survey.
Additionally, a recent survey conducted by Deloitte found that two-thirds of smartphone owners planned to use their phones during holiday shopping, to find store locations, compare prices and look for product information.
Therefore, make it easy for customers to interact with your company effortlessly, via the media of their choice.
4. Be consistent across channels.
During holiday shopping season customers and prospects are doing a lot of research. Make sure you are providing a consistent multichannel experience, not multichannel frustration. A frictionless experience is key for customers who will give up on your company when information is different across media, or difficult to find;
» Walmart is partnering with online resources such as Google to enable shoppers to not only search for a product, but also find out if it is available in their local store. Stephen F. Quinn, chief marketing officer at Walmart, explained, "Google will tell you if your local Walmart has Weber grills in stock, and it will tell you that store's location." Walmart started experimenting with this process earlier this year and has increased its efforts for the holidays.
» And, most retailers are taking to Facebook for ads and Pinterest to setup online showrooms. Target and many other retailers, are using Pinterest, which Casey Carl, president of multichannel at Target, says they are using for holiday-party-planning boards for their Red Card holders. Pinterest itself is starting a new "Holiday Gift" category that will not only offer shoppers gift ideas but will give retailers another display window for their items.