During the holiday season, numerous retailers experience the harsh reality that their e-commerce systems are ill-prepared for the surge in shopping traffic. From incorrect deliveries to order cancellations due to stock shortages, and even difficulties in processing returns for damaged items, it is clear that many retailers still have a long way to go in terms of selling and satisfying customers across their various sales channels.
Here is a summary of 5 common holiday slip-ups that could lose you loyal customers, and how to fix them:
Mistake #1: Overestimating inventory and running out of stock
During the holiday season, the rush of customers seeking the perfect gifts can overwhelm even the most prepared retailers. Sarah, a regular customer, eagerly anticipates buying a highly-advertised limited edition gadget for her tech-savvy partner. However, upon her visit to the store, she's disappointed to find it out of stock. Frustrated, she resorts to purchasing from a competitor. The retailer missed a potential sale and left Sarah feeling let down.
Fix it by implementing accurate inventory forecasting and monitoring
To optimize customer satisfaction and avoid missed sales opportunities, retailers must maintain seamless control over their sales channels (POS, eCommerce... etc...) and inventory through a unified software platform. Utilizing an end-to-end retail management solution like LS Central is essential. This system ensures access to current product data by leveraging a unified database and real-time stock information, all within one platform. It includes also an efficient inventory management system that uses data analytics to accurately anticipate customer demand and adapt inventory levels accordingly.
Mistake #2: Sending the wrong item
Marco is very happy when he sees that the shorts he bought online have been delivered, just in time for his sun-and-sea holiday. When he opens the package, however, he soon realizes the size his wrong. He re-checks his order: he did mark XL, but they sent him a Small! He is leaving in two days – he will never be able to change the item before his departure.
Fix it by getting a clear view of your value chain
Returns are an unavoidable part of retail, costing companies an average of 4.4% of their revenue. While some returns are beyond the retailer's control, it's important to take responsibility for the ones that are due to your own mistakes. Implementing an efficient retail management system can significantly reduce the risk of returns by ensuring that customers receive exactly what they ordered - the right model, color, and size. By doing so, you can minimize customer dissatisfaction and keep them coming back for more.
Mistake #3: Inefficient checkout processes
John, a hurried shopper during the busy holiday season, fills his cart with gifts and heads to the checkout counter. To his dismay, he's met with long queues and slow checkout processes. Impatient and pressed for time, he abandons his cart and leaves the store, vowing never to return during the holiday rush.
Fix it by optimizing checkout processes with technology
Retailers should invest in technology to streamline the checkout process. Implementing self-checkout stations, contactless payment solutions or self-scanning options like ScanPayGo, or even click and collect, can significantly reduce wait times and enhance the overall shopping experience. Efficient checkout processes will keep customers satisfied and more likely to complete their purchases.
Mistake #4: Inefficient handling of returns at the Point of Sale (POS)
Mike purchases a pair of shoes from an eCommerce store and decides to return them due to size issues. When he arrives at the physical store to process the return, he faces a lengthy and complicated procedure. The delay in processing the return and lack of streamlined systems at the POS frustrates Mike, discouraging him from making future purchases from the retailer.
Fix it by optimizing return procedures
To provide exceptional customer service during the busy holiday season, retailers should adopt advanced customer service technologies to efficiently handle customer inquiries and issues. This includes implementing well-structured and hassle-free return procedures, as well as providing comprehensive training to staff members to expedite the returns process. By offering a user-friendly returns experience at the point of sale, retailers can not only guarantee customer satisfaction but also foster repeat purchases and minimize the operational costs associated with returns.
Mistake #5: Neglecting post-holiday engagement
After the holiday frenzy subsides, it's crucial not to fade into the background. Andrea, a customer who made several purchases during the holiday season, notices that the retailer she shopped from has gone silent post-holidays. She feels overlooked and forgettable as the retailer doesn't acknowledge her loyalty or provide any post-holiday incentives. This lack of post-holiday engagement makes her question if the retailer values her as a customer.
Fix it by maintaining a strong post-holiday connection
Retailers should make it a priority to stay engaged with their customers even after the holiday season. This can be done by sending heartfelt post-holiday appreciation emails, providing exclusive discounts for future purchases, or sharing valuable post-holiday content. By showing gratitude for their support and offering incentives, retailers can encourage repeat business and cultivate a strong and lasting relationship with their customers. This approach ensures that customers will continue to choose the retailer for their future purchases.
Are you a retailer who embraces innovation and learns from the mistakes of others, or are you stuck in your old ways, risking losing customers to competitors? The holiday season is coming. If you need help in selective the perfect retail software for your needs don’t hesitate to contact us.
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