The yearly onslaught of Christmas and Boxing Day is over (for now) and we’re well into the new year!
Winning during the festive season is critical in the eCommerce world. There’s a lot of opportunities coming up and we want to help you leverage all of them.
Are you rubbing your hands together in anticipation?
There is the ever-so-popular Valentine’s Day coming up on February 14.
Did you know greeting cards, date nights, candy, flowers and gift cards rank amongst the top 5 most purchased items during Valentine’s Day?
However, if your target markets include Asia, you should sit up and pay attention as there are a few other major festivals coming up:
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is THE most important holiday for Chinese people.
Celebrated in mainland China, Southeast Asia and in Chinese communities in other parts of the world, It is the time to spend time with extended family and friends – visiting, eating and shopping.
With more than 1.4 billion Chinese globally, this festival is a prime opportunity for retailers both online and offline. People spend generously on new clothes and lots of food during this festive season.
Tet (Lunar New Year in Vietnam)
Tet Nguyen Dan or Tet, also known as the Vietnamese Lunar New Year is the biggest festival in Vietnam.
During Tet, houses are cleaned, fresh food and new clothes are bought. Debts are paid off to have a fresh start to the upcoming year.
Festive periods bring increased online and offline spending.
Unsurprisingly, the Chinese market during Chinese New Year is abuzz with activity.
In China alone, China’s UnionPay reported 462 billion yuan in total online payments for 343 million transactions during the 2017 Chinese New Year holidays and this year will also see significant year-on-year growth.
China Post also delivered 13.75 million deliveries between 20 January and 2 February 2017 alone.
Vietnam is no exception.
The percentage of eCommerce shoppers grew from 5.4% to 8.8% in the 4 major urban cities of Vietnam, especially in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) market.
The trends are clear.
Netizens are increasingly digitally-savvy and go online to purchase gifts, traditional foods and clothing before, during and after festivals.
Festive opportunities are a prime opportunity for eCommerce merchants to rack in some sales. People are willing to spend more money shopping and looking for retailers who can meet their needs.
However, if not handled properly, you can also fall flat and they become missed opportunities.
How do you, as an eCommerce merchant capitalise on this huge flow of traffic?
Answer: Communicate, communicate, communicate
The moment they are placing orders with you, your customer has entrusted you with the responsibility to fulfil your side of the bargain.
They need to know that you can deliver on time and am able handle their orders without hassle.
Especially in the festive season, carriers can struggle with the increased delivery load and you may not be able to fulfil orders according to schedule.
While such situations are undesirable, the more tightly they are managed, the less the potential fallout with your customers.
We outline several things you can use to ensure your customers have an unforgettable experience with you and keep coming back.
#1: Incorporate Post Purchase Emails
The buck doesn’t stop after the customer confirms the order and puts in their credit card details.
The post purchase stage is a prime opportunity to further engage your customers and build strong relationships with your customers that will lead to repeat purchases.
Research from customer experience firm Medallia states: “Customers who had the best past experience spend nearly 140% more compared to customers who had the poorest past experience”.
Post purchase emails help facilitate positive brand sentiment for your brand and helps keep them informed of their purchase.
The most immediate email shoppers expect to receive upon converting to a customer is the order confirmation or purchase receipt.
The order confirmation email is the bare minimum.
In this email, customers need to know that their order went through, when it will ship, how to track that shipment and what to expect next.
They should also know what to do if they encounter any issues in the meantime.
For example, look at this order confirmation email from Book Depository.
Another email you need to have is the shipping confirmation email
Customers need to know where exactly their order is.
Allow them to track the progress of the order if possible so they aren’t worried if the parcel gets lost.
Use these emails to update customers on their order and help them to build trust with your brand.
Consider also including a second email check in after the order has delivered to ensure the order arrived in good condition.
Customers want to know that you implicitly care for them. You can convey this by constantly communicating with your customers to ensure they receive their parcels on time.
#2: Consistent company branding on every customer touch-point
When we think about branding, we often think of the obvious opportunities to convert website visitors into leads and customers such as:
- Print collateral
- Social media channels
- Customer presentations and marketing materials
Yes, all these are important and should be a crucial part to think about when thinking about your company’s branding.
One area that many eCommerce merchants do not consider is the post-sales customer experience and the time period between closing the sale and receiving their order.
For instance, how strong is your company’s branding experience on your tracking pages?
Usually, customers will visit the logistics carrier’s page to track their order. And yes, this is enough to get by.
However, consider this:
Customers will visit a tracking page multiple times to track their parcels.
Through their frequent visits, they will know more about the carrier – the carrier’s information, branding, and links are all over the carrier’s page.
Wouldn’t you want them to learn more and continue interacting with YOUR company instead?
This is why we provide Branded Tracking Pages for our clients.
Instead of sending your customers away to a generic, faceless carrier page, you’re sending them to a feature-rich page that not only tells them where their parcel is, but one complete with your company logo, links to social media pages or to sign up to your email newsletter, return policy or frequently asked questions.
With one amendment to your customer’s experience, you can make your business regardless of the size or industry look super-amazing and stand out from the pack.
One of our clients, OliveAnkara using our Branded Tracking Pages to supercharge their post-sale customer experience.
Make sure your tracking page is decorated with appropriate seasonal graphics to create the correct mood and atmosphere.
For example, red symbolises good fortune and joy in Chinese and Vietnamese customs. Research on the different cultural nuances for the two festivals and understand the cultural sensibilities before designing web and marketing materials for Chinese New Year and / or Tet.
#3: Have a comprehensive and clear returns policy
Order returns are not good news.
Not only do you lose money on the initial shipping and order processing, you also lose money from the sale .
At least 30% of products bought online are returned against 9% bought in brick-and-mortar stores. Furthermore, returns increase by nearly 15% during festive seasons. (Source: Business2Community)
However, this is part and parcel of running an eCommerce business.
Could your return policy be causing you to lose out on higher value customers? 56% of shoppers want hassle-free return policy, 81% of shoppers want simple, easy and free returns.
How flexible, clear and helpful you are about your return policy can make the difference between retaining or losing a customer.
92% of shoppers say they would buy something again if they are happy with the store’s return policy.
So how do you provide an excellent returns policy?
According to a United Post Service study, a best returns experience consists of:
Source: UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper
Festive seasons are ripe with opportunity for eCommerce merchants
Your potential customers are in a mood to buy.
They demand for the best possible customer experience.
Beyond optimising the obvious customer touch-points like the checkout experience and front-facing elements of your eCommerce store, don’t forget about what happens after you close the sale.
This is where we have built a comprehensive suite of tracking and monitoring capabilities to help you WOW your customers with prompt and speedy delivery notifications and branded tracking pages to showcase your brand identity.
Joshua is the Marketing Manager at Parcel Perform. He loves technology and a good book. Outside of e-commerce and Parcel Perform, you can find him in the kitchen, gym or yoga studio.