This is a guest post contributed by Hire Horatio.
Every year, consumers may notice that it seems like the holiday season starts earlier and earlier. Halloween decorations appear in midsummer and “Christmas in July,” once just an expression for mid-summer sales, now almost seems to be about the actual time retailers are prepping for the holiday.
While this holiday buildup may seem premature to some consumers, in actuality retailers may find themselves late to the game if they wait until mid-fall to start advertising their holiday selections. This year amid the pandemic, the recent labor shortages, and the global supply chain issues, it is in the consumers’ best interest for brands to start preparing for the holidays far in advance.
For e-commerce companies, the question remains how to help their consumers prepare for the holidays without seeming gimmicky or pushy.
The answer to this question lies in one simple word: transparency. It is up to brands to merge their marketing and customer experience into one. This year, companies need to move up their marketing timelines on unveiling seasonal lineups. This also means that brands should be open and transparent about the global supply chain problems that exist – both on company websites and through social media.
While it may be a first instinct to shy away from addressing these problems, in fact, consumers will appreciate the upfront approach. It will help them plan purchases better and also give them a framework of expectations should a problem occur, easing CX interactions on the other side. It remains important to provide clear and specific dates that consumers need to order by, even as unpredictable problems may loom.
While social media marketing is key, companies should not forget the power of holiday emails. According to a recent study, four billion people used email in 2020 and that figure is expected to grow to 4.6 billion by 2025. CX messaging in emails could be as simple as stating that agents will be available to handle returns or personal questions. Customers can be reassured knowing they will have a “concierge-like” experience rather than feeling they are in the hands of a bot. The more forms of communication that companies can provide, the better. In relaying these messages, try to incorporate the ethos and quirks which are specific to the brand. This will further humanize marketing efforts and, in turn, the customer experience.
Internally, companies should keep the festive spirit within their team. Paying close attention to the morale of employees is also key in making sure that the consumer experience is of the highest quality. Rolling out incentives or added company perks will make your team feel appreciated, especially during a particularly busy and stressful time of year.
When your team feels good, that transmits into an organic and more positive experience for consumers. Customers will be reassured that this holiday season can still be a bright spot for them after a particularly hard year for everyone worldwide.