By Rena Kalogianni, Consultant at Krataion Consulting, ex Marketing Director Louis Vuitton

This year’s holiday season unfolds in very special conditions, both for consumers and retailers. However, according to a recent survey we conducted, 46% of consumers said they would keep or increase their Christmas shopping expenses while 50% would make their purchases 1 to 3 weeks before Christmas. And because the bulk of the shopping will be online, here are 5 + 1 practical tips to help you gain or strengthen your market share by creating a unique online customer experience:

  1.  Ensure a consistent omni-channel presence. Customers today are everywhere and “see” your brand from multiple touch points – understand who your customers are, identify all touch points they have with you (both online & offline), create a common message that will be reproduced through all points of contact, implement a common pricing policy, build emotional connections with them and offer a holistic experience that will differentiate you from the competition.
  2. Facilitate your customers’ decision-making process. The way customers make decisions when it comes to purchasing a product is complex as the factors that affect them today are multidimensional. Think about how many channels they are exposed to, how much information they get, how many comparisons they can make with a simple click. This makes the process complicated. Help your customers decide, make it as easy as possible for them. Give short and comprehensive product descriptions, link the inventory to your site for proper availability information. List other clients’ recommendations and reviews, as they play a catalytic role in making a decision. Keep delivery prices low or ideally offer free delivery and don’t forget that adding a small token gift can be an incentive to choose your brand.
  3. Ensure the balance between automation and human contact. Υes, it is extremely important to use Artificial Intelligence that meets the new needs of customers (eg communication via chatbot). However, it remains equally important to identify the point at which human contact will replace technology. After all, 86% of consumers said they would prefer to contact a human agent as they believe that important issues can only be resolved through human contact.
  4. Ensure on-time product delivery as it is an important factor of customer satisfaction.This period may have shown us that there are and will be significant delays in product deliveries. Be sure to inform your customers about any delays and set the right expectations at the various points of contact they have with your brand e.g. update your website, indicate the expected delivery time in the shopping cart or look for alternative ways such as deliveries by own means, pick up points, etc.
  5. Make the shopping experience easy and convenient through mobile. 50% of purchases are now made via mobile while consumers now show a strong preference for purchases through applications. That is why it is important that the experience is easy and relaxing. Enter all the information on one page so that the user avoids unnecessary movements on the screen that affect them and make them quickly give up the effort. Create the structure in a way that helps navigation, always keeping the menu fixed even if the user changes the page. Make it easy to compare products and clearly show the next steps to be taken. Finally, it is important to ensure easy, different and secure payment methods that will not make your customer leave the cart at the last minute.

And don’t forget: Customers, along with a product, buy experiences and emotions – make those experiences unique by thinking about how you would like them to treat you as a customer. If you want to know more, we will be glad to hear from you.