Surviving the Holiday Rush
Improve Operational Efficiency and Provide Great Customer Experience
With some of the busiest shopping days rapidly approaching, stores are bracing for an onslaught of last-minute shoppers and a few more weeks of chaos. Unlike the shoppers that begin shopping in October or November — 83 percent of holiday shoppers — these customers will be stressed out and distracted, looking for efficient ways to complete their holiday shopping list. To retain these customers and create great customer experiences, stores need to improve their operational efficiency to meet the needs of last-minute shoppers.
Create Efficient Waiting Experiences
For the busy shopper, long waiting lines could make a huge difference when deciding which store to shop at. With limited time left, they don’t want to waste time in long queues when they could already be inside another store getting what they need. Unfortunately, wait lines can’t be avoided for some stores. That’s why retailers need to improve their operational efficiency to create better waiting experiences to draw in their customers.
Implementing virtual queueing software can help shoppers spend less time waiting in lines and more time shopping or running other errands. These technologies allow shoppers to join and wait in the virtual queue from wherever they are. They’ll receive updates on their estimated wait time and place in line and, if they’re running behind, they can ask for an extension on their time. This allows shoppers to simultaneous queue up for your store while shopping in other stores. That way, they aren’t wasting any time in long lines — which ensures they have great customer experiences.
Implement Shopping Appointments
There are many benefits for retailers who decide to use shopping appointments this holiday season: they can enhance their safety measures to keep shoppers and staff safe, they can decrease wait times and they can even improve their revenue! As well as delivering a great customer experience, having dedicated shopping hours that are by appointment only has been found to increase sales by 100 percent on average. And after a difficult year for retailers, that extra revenue can be a big help.
For shoppers, personal shopping appointments can be helpful, as they have dedicated time with a customer service representative. Instead of trying to vie for attention, they’ll have a customer services representative available at all times to help them shop. This allows them to ask questions, see new products, and get advice on which gifts are popular this year. Instead of having to contend with long lines, shoppers can book appointments in advance and arrive in time for their dedicated shopping appointment. The increased personal attention is sure to provide a great customer experience.
Test New Shopping Experiences
With online shopping subject to shipping delays, now is the time for retailers to test new shopping experiences that will benefit the shopper and that will improve operational efficiency. When last-minute shopping, every day counts, which means that most online shoppers can’t afford to rely on shipping their parcels. If your store doesn’t already have it, implement services that allow shoppers to buy online but pick up in-store. This could include curbside pickup, where the shopper books an appointment to pick up their parcel and the retailer brings it out to their car. If that won’t work for your location, there is also the option of allowing them to come inside the store to pick up their pre-paid item. If your store usually has a line, make sure that you’re offering shoppers who are picking up a way to fast-track that line. Otherwise, it negates the purpose of this experience. Now is the perfect time to test new shopping experiences that have seen success with other retailers – and that will provide a great customer experience.