There are only a few days left in the 2018 holiday shopping season, and online shoppers aren’t slowing down. The annual mad dash this time of year for last-minute gifts can be great for your business. But, while shoppers who missed the Black Friday sales may be racing to buy their presents, they will still be slowing down to check out the reputation of your business online. During this busy season, consumers’ time is valuable, and holiday reputation management is vital. Purchasers know that buying from a company with an excellent reputation for customer service, quality, and reviews will improve their shopping experience and save them time and energy. Your online reputation greatly influences holiday shoppers and could make or break your end-of-year sales.
Holiday reputation management is more important each year. Every season, more shoppers make their holiday purchases online. With the increased speed of shipping, more of those shoppers are making their purchases last-minute. Online sales during the holidays grew by 17.9% last year. In 2017, Friday, December 22, was the season’s biggest shopping day for both online sales and in-store visits. Christmas falls on a Tuesday this year, which will likely encourage even more last-minute shopping over the weekend. The influx of traffic could skyrocket your business’s revenue just in time for the new year. But, a poor online reputation could ruin your chances of success.
Unfortunately, you can’t wholly repair a bad reputation between now and Christmas. But, the last few days of shopping season provide an abundance of opportunities to build a positive reputation with consumers and proactively prevent any damage to your brand.
Shopping during the holidays can be stressful, and many times, things inevitably go wrong for the consumer. Businesses have a tremendous opportunity during this time to differentiate themselves from the competition with their customer service, both in stores and online. Companies that go the extra mile to please consumers will likely see dividends. You may feel that there are other more critical areas of your business that you should be focusing on as the New Year approaches, but customer service should take precedence. A bad review from an angry consumer is compelling, but a raving review from a delighted customer can be even more influential. Embrace opportunities to anticipate the needs of your guests and create a positive holiday experience for shoppers. When you take good care of the people buying your products, you reap the rewards.
Consumers are busy leading up to the holidays, which means a majority of their research and online shopping will happen on mobile devices. Not only will shoppers be researching last-minute gifts, but they will also be looking up store locations and hours, checking product reviews and feedback, and looking at social sharing for inspiration. There are many ways for retailers to connect to their audience through social media, email newsletters, and digital ads. But, it is important not to overwhelm the customer with over-wordy text or irrelevant information. Those shopping on mobile devices are looking for easily accessible information. It is essential that online businesses ensure that their technology is running smoothly, including shopping cart pages, customer service chats, and promotions. If you haven’t adequately optimized your website for mobile, consumers will look elsewhere – and your sales will tank.
If something slips through the cracks (as inevitably happens during the holiday chaos) you must swiftly remedy the situation. Shoppers are looking at reviews in real time. If they don’t see a response to an angry customer, they may doubt your credibility. The goal should be to create a positive customer experience and avoid negative reviews altogether. But if you do receive a complaint from a customer or client, it is essential to take a moment to consider things from their viewpoint. Could you have prevented the issue? Is there anything you could do to win back the customer’s business? Bad reviews can be upsetting, but they present a new opportunity to build your reputation. Reach out to the client with an authentic response. A sincere apology and offer to remedy the problem goes a long way. After all, kindness is what the Christmas spirit is all about.
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