As every retailer knows, the end of the year season is increasingly important and profitable for stores and brands. For years there have been brands that even in their worst years, when the Christmas season comes, the recovery is such that they require hiring staff for the season to keep up with the demand and thus recover what was lost in the year. In addition, there is no longer only a shopping peak in December due to Christmas, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been installed with more force year after year, extending the time to also have part of November. Traditionally we already had a sales peak at Christmas, now we are on the verge of that peak being extended as it is in countries like the United States.
Now, if we combine these traditional data with the growth in digital purchases of the last 4 or 5 quarters that we have faced due to COVID-19, as a Latin American market we must understand and address the urgency of doing things right during this end of the year on our digital channels. Since it is the time when it is sold the most, it is important to be prepared for what may come, and that is a peak but now digital. For this reason, we will discuss 3 important details that must be clear to achieve success this end of the year.
Peak planning is difficult even in the best of times. Due to the current global pandemic, this year's shopping season will require a level of planning that has never been seen before. During all this time we have managed to plan the demand that we will have in our stores as the end of December approaches, but that does not mean that we are ready.
The entry of the digital channel is something that affects all our logistics processes as we have to include our eCommerce in that planning. Are we managing well the inventory rules that this virtual store requires? How much does my eCommerce depend on availability in specific stores? How quickly does my CEDI respond to what was virtually requested with respect to physical stores? Is there a clear and flawless process of when the customer orders online to pick up in store? Am I really going to be able to cope with daily manual inventory loads to the site? All these questions and more are what will define if your siteis really ready by the end of the year. Therefore, it is key to review and define them focused on the processes and rules that the inventory must follow.
2.Omnichannel in customer service:
For the customer, the service they receive from our brand is and will always be of vital importance, not only pre-purchase, but even more so when they have placed their trust and gave us their money. This is why, within the bases of a virtual store, customer service will always be found. If even in physical stores we receive complaints or comments from customers to whom something did not turn out as they wanted and require customer service, it is impossible to consider that we will not have requests now having many other processes in the digital channel and sometimes even third parties involved in the sales process. Perhaps your brand had managed to meet the demand for customer service through a community manager in each social network and perhaps a call center; But is there connectivity between all these communication channels? Does your Facebook community manager know that Mauricio Lang called the call center to complain about order #45?
The customer who is handing us an upgrade option is usually a customer who is upset, so it's a * huge * mistake to have to ask him what his issue was over and over again. When we ask a customer to tell us what the problem was, we are creating an increasingly engraved memory of when their experience with our brand was not the best, which will culminate in a bad brand perception and lack of trust.
On the other hand, through an omni-channel architecture, we can obtain the profile of that specific client by hand, managing to serve them without forcing them to remember their bad experience and making them feel that we know each other and are worried about what happened. In fact, we can take advantage of these calls to offer a purchase option or personalized product, since by having your profile we can not only deal with your complaints efficiently, but we can also see your consumption patterns and tastes.
3.Security and Trust:
Fraud prevention and overall security for your site not only builds consumer trust in us, but also protects a merchant's overall bottom line and the permanence of their business. By working to eliminate fraudulent activity from your e-commerce stores. As merchants we can make sure it is easier for legitimate customers to make purchases, while also ensuring that fraudulent activity is filtered out. During such a high peak of traffic, it is vital to be protected from any attack that causes us a fall and therefore the loss of sales that will be found on the site, so we must do everything possible to minimize risks.
Traders should use verification tools. There is a misconception on this topic that verification adds friction to the customer buying process, however the truth is that in times where security is so precious, customers value the stores that protect them. Simple verification eliminates fraud and makes customers feel more secure.
I'm sure that at this point in the year, most retailers have planned strategies relevant to the Christmas season and the end of the year for their companies. However, was this planning carried out considering the high demand that will also be received by digital means? We are going to face a totally atypical season that sets precedents in the world of virtual stores, so as Imagineer we want to help companies emerge and succeed in digital media. If we are left with just having a presence, we will be overshadowed by the competition but if we focus on achieving a strategy, our 2020 Christmas season can be the doors to a new reality in the culture of our clients.