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PEAK 2017 Delivering on Christmas shoppers’ expectations

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The way people shop over Black Friday and the extended Christmas period tells us far more than how people are getting on with their present shopping. The changing way that shoppers are buying becomes magnified thanks to the sheer volume of transactions at this time of year. In addition, time-pressured shoppers look for, and adopt, new ways of doing things that they may then continue over the rest of the year. With this in mind, InternetRetailing is devoting a regular twice-weekly slot to peak shopping season 2017, highlighting the stories that struck us as most interesting over the last few days. Today the focus is on retaining Christmas shoppers, while also meeting their delivery expectations.

Moving on from Black Friday

Shoppers may have continued to spend on Black Friday, but while discounts bring in new customers, building a long-term relationship with them requires more work, says Jason De Winne, UK general manager, at ICLP.

“Whilst Black Friday and Cyber Monday certainly generate hype amongst consumers and bring a boost in sales for retailers, it would be wrong for brands to view this as a reflection of their most loyal customers,” he said. “Offering mass discounts has understandably appeal to a broad consumer base, eager to shop with brands they wouldn’t otherwise engage with. Capturing a sale during this period is most likely due to the discount on offer rather than a longer term, deeper relationship with that customer.

“For retail brands, the next step is to identify which of the customers who have shopped with them during Black Friday are worthwhile and open to building these deeper relationships with them. Recognising what is going to nurture and incentive these individuals over time, and reflecting this in the way they are engaging them will be critical to converting them into returning customers. Leveraging customer data lies at the heart of this and will allow them to meet customer preferences and deliver a tailored, personalised experience. Black Friday may bring a short-term revenue boost, but if retail brands are serious about acquiring valuable customers they must move away for simply offering discounts and implement strategies that encourage retention and ultimately drive devotion to the brand.”

Managing Christmas deliveries

Getting Christmas deliveries is important, says delivery management company Centiro. It points to a study last year in which 76% of shoppers said they would switch to an alternative retailer if they had a poor Christmas home delivery experience.

“Online shoppers in the UK have never had it so good when it comes to the variety of delivery options available to them,” said Bobby Shome, business development director EMEA at Centiro. “Consumer expectations could rocket past current levels if the market continues its shift to provide innovative delivery services that are available in the UK as well increasingly granular detail to consumers, such as delivery driver name, location and exact time of arrival. This means the successful retailer of the future will be the ones that continue to focus on customer service, with a seamless customer experience across all the delivery services they offer. In Christmas party terms, they have invited the guests, but must get to work wrapping the presents, cooking the dinner and laying the table.”

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