Home Business Why Retailers Should Prioritize Holiday Shopping and How to Start

Why Retailers Should Prioritize Holiday Shopping and How to Start

by Olufisayo
Holiday Shopping and How to Start

Black Friday has come and gone, and hopefully the tradition held true in your business that your numbers are now in the black. But that does not mean retailers can afford to rest on their laurels. The holidays are the perfect time to enter the new year with additional capital amassed from those seeking the perfect gift for their loved ones. And nothing aggravates customers more than showing up empty-handed to their holiday gathering because their gifts are still in the mail.

Indeed, delivery issues remain second only to security concerns when it comes to online shopping. To keep your customers happy and returning year after year, small business owners must prepare adequately for this busy season to avoid delays. A little planning truly goes a long way when it comes to keeping customers satisfied.

Holiday Shopping and How to Start

Make Sure to Use Tracking

Unbelievably, some online retailers fail to offer a tracking number to their customers. Don’t overlook the power of this simple step! Providing tracking details enable consumers to follow the course of their package across the nation or even across the globe. Tracking also enables retailers and consumers alike to see where the shipping issue occurred and who is responsible. Most consumers expect a shipping fee when shopping online. If you’re hoping to lure them in with offers of free shipping, adjust your pricing accordingly so that you’re not footing the entire additional shipping expense.

In addition, pay careful attention to carrier cut off dates. While it’s tempting to advertise overnight shipping on December 23, this leaves no margin for logistical error. A better practice is to fully embrace online shopping events such as Cyber Monday to encourage shoppers to buy their gifts early. Offering limited-time bargains gives you time to correct errors in shipping in plenty of time for the holidays. As an added bonus, you’ll know much sooner how successful your advertising strategies are working by the volume of orders you receive earlier in the season.

Create an All-Hands Corporate Policy Early

The holidays can be super stressful for your employees as well. Many want time to spend with their loved ones and demanding overtime at the last minute can murder employee morale.

Make it clear in your company handbook what your expectations are for working hours during the holiday seasons. if overtime will be mandatory during this time of year, let potential employees know that right from the first interview. Reinforce this expectation regularly. Employees despise feeling powerless and at the whim of an arbitrary manager. Setting clear expectations from the interview forward will enable those candidates who will have unavoidable holiday conflicts to seek employment better suited for their needs.

A good rule of thumb to bear in mind is that when sales volume increases three times, the amount of work increases ten times. Consider hiring seasonal employees to help pick up the holiday slack. This helps to keep your regular workforce from burning out during the holidays. In addition, you get to observe the work ethic of those you may consider bringing on as full-time team members.

Offer a Pickup Option

A simple way to shift some of the burdens of on-time holiday delivery from your team directly to the consumers themselves is to offer a pickup option. Amazon famously pioneered this practice with their distribution centers but assuming you have at least a bit of space, there is no reason you cannot follow their lead. The pickup option can be paired with a discount as an added incentive to have the consumer come to you instead of shipping to their door. Allowing for pickup also empowers consumers to ensure their special gift arrives on time by putting them in the driver’s seat instead of FedEx or UPS.

Respond to Problems Appropriately

No matter how early you begin preparing for the holiday rush, problems remain a certainty. Business owners must have a plan to address customer concerns and complaints. This is never more important than it is during the holiday rush when tempers tend to be short.

Customers expect to be compensated when their items fail to arrive by the promised date, so creating a solid return and refund policy is crucial. Over half of all consumers expect retailers to reimburse shipping costs should their item fail to arrive by a specified date. Another tactic you may consider is offering a discount on a future purchase either in addition to or in lieu of refunding shipping fees. This gives the customer an added incentive to purchase more from you in the future. As its far less costly to maintain current customers than it is to attract new ones, offering an additional discount on a future purpose actually helps to grow the company’s bottom line.

The best piece of advice? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If you would expect compensation for delivery delays, bear in mind that your customers feel the same way. While no system is problem-free, planning ahead for delivery issues during the holidays can ensure your customers feel valued and cared for should an issue arise. By planning ahead, you can make sure you have happy customers returning to you year after year.

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