Given the events of 2020, many are craving holiday experiences that replicate, if not elevate, the memories of years past. Retailers who recognize this and prepare to provide a little something special will see their efforts rewarded.
While deal-hunting has been at the heart of holiday shopping in the past, we find nearly half of U.S. consumers are willing to stretch their budget if it means giving the perfect gift this year. Whether customers look for their perfect gifts at specialty shops, big-box stores, on obscure websites or through their favorite apps, retailers who invest in creating a positive emotional connection with their customers during that shopping experience are more likely to win the sale, even if theirs are not the lowest prices in town.
Driving Traffic Through Creativity
Creating memorable holiday shopping experiences is relatively easy in-store with large window displays, visits to Santa’s workshop, music and decorations galore. With a desire to compete on more than price, online retailers are getting creative in their efforts to entice shoppers to purchase on their sites.
Sam’s Club is a great example this holiday season. The brand has invoked nostalgia for the holiday film “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” by recreating the Griswolds’ home and allowing shoppers to click on items inside and out for purchase.
Within the cosmetics industry, online merchants borrow heavily from social media to create interactive experiences. Despite not being able to physically handle products of interest, consumers experience a connection through embedded video tutorials, testimonials, and personalized quizzes. The approach has been so successful that brick-and-mortar competitors have increased their online presence to remain competitive.
Home goods and furnishing sites appeal to their customers’ individuality with full-scale customization. Holiday shoppers can stop searching for the perfect present by simply designing it themselves.
Driving traffic to your site is only one aspect of winning the holiday. Retailers must be as equally invested in their site’s overall functionality as they are in creating positive memorable experiences.
Avoid Site Detours with Effortless Navigation
The most successful online retailers ensure their sites are engaging, easy to navigate and quick to load. To avoid falling short of expectations:
Offer multiple methods of real-time assistance. Online shopping prevents customers from “kicking the tires.” To help your customers feel confident in their purchase, offer multiple methods of interaction, such as live chat, chat bots, FAQs, links to customer reviews and/or testimonials.
Identify and correct pain points throughout the shopping experience. User-experience testing along with employee feedback helps to uncover damaging issues with key aspects of the shopping experience, from initial load times to effectively applying promotional offers at checkout.
Know your site’s bandwidth. Be prepared for high-traffic volumes by retroactively evaluating site traffic. Take care to understand past performance during peak times and know your site’s breaking point so you’re prepared should warning bells sound.