Unpredictability. The word has come to define the last two years of existence on this planet. Yet with a more zoomed in view, the word can be strongly attached to this year’s holiday season – for both customers and companies.
Interruptions in global supply chain systems have caused many shoppers to begin the hunt earlier.
According to one study, 64% of shoppers this year are likely to spend more on gifts, attempting to find the right present that represents our emotional ties to others.
Yet while value remains at the core of this shopping season for consumers, availability is a value that is in high demand and scarcely found.
This is where brands and retailers need to be on guard and provide transparency around which products are in stock, which are in thin supply, how orders can be processed, how they can be shipped, and delivery deadlines apply.
There are many ways that an ecommerce store can communicate well with its shoppers, among them being:
Be open about concerns. Clearly display numbers of inventory and dates of expected restocks. And remember not to rely too heavily on arrival times given by manufacturers. Essentially, don’t make promises to customers you can’t keep.
Offer alternative products. For low-stock products as well as out-of-stock products, offer quality alternatives. One of the ways to bump up conversion rates is to recommend similar and relevant alternatives, such as the same product in different colors and sizes.
Make stories personal. Remind general digital shoppers as well as your customers that their purchases can make all the difference. And make sure to put that message across all channels, whether it’s on your website or social media platforms. In addition, a brand’s staff recommendation can go a long way to creating a closer connection with shoppers.
Be crystal clear on delivery times. Transit times are up in the air and have been for a while. And they vary greatly depending on the area. Also, be clear about which carrier is delivering products and which methods they use.
Keep customers notified throughout the journey. Not knowing where a product is can be quite frustrating – especially when it’s needed for a special day. Consider emailing customers to keep them informed as to the status of their orders.
Help Santa out. Give an extra helping hand to shoppers by finding what they’re looking for. When consumers ask about a product that is out of stock and is intent on getting it, listen carefully. If it’s clear that a customer only has eyes for one, consider recommending a strong competitor. Yes, a competitor – but only as a last resort. It won’t get you an immediate sale, but you’ll earn their trust and make it more likely that they’ll come back to you – after all they came to you first.
Be honest. Put focus on taking care of the unspoken concerns that shoppers have. For example, a message at checkout to alert customers about expected order fulfillment and shipping times. Being transparent will go a long way to forge stronger relationships with customers, and this includes being honest.