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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Honest messaging drove the transition this holiday season

The holiday shopping season of 2021 is unpredictable for both shoppers and merchants. Supply chain disruptions and possible shipping delays have prompted many consumers to end gift purchases earlier than usual.

According to data from optimization tool provider Quantum Metric, 64% of shoppers this year put more emotion in the process of buying gifts, looking for gifts that represent a personal relationship with the recipient. This alone creates pressure and makes accurate guidance more important than ever.

As always, value remains a key factor for most shoppers. But availability and delivery are the top concerns. Online retailers must be transparent about inventory status, order processing speed, and shipping methods. The goal is to curb unnecessary accidents as much as possible.

Here are seven simple ways online stores can solve shoppers’ worries.

Address shoppers’ concerns

Display accurate inventory counts and expected replenishment. Avoid buying hesitation by telling shoppers what is available and what is not. For backordered goods, the replenishment date must be realistic, especially if you accept the reservation. Do not rely on the estimated time of arrival provided by the manufacturer. Consider potential delays and don’t make promises.

Provide valuable substitutes for out-of-stock and low-stock products. The lower the inventory of goods, the greater the possibility of oversold. One way to convert shoppers when popular items are sold out is to recommend similar items, including items of different sizes and colors.

Show personal stories selected by employees. Whether on the website or on social media, employee recommendations will remind shoppers that their purchases support real families. The staff’s suggestions can establish a connection between shoppers and the brand, thereby alleviating the worry of choosing such gifts for loved ones.

Disclose the carrier and expected delivery schedule. “Standard shipping” is usually the cheapest method, but shipping times in some areas may vary greatly. In addition, some shoppers prefer one type of carrier over another. Know in advance which carrier and method you will use for the general shipping option. If you use multiple carriers, please consider offering buyers options.

Be transparent about production time. Frankly state the delivery date of the customized item. Shows the estimated time range from placing an order to leaving the house. A few days will be very different.

Production time message on product page

Rush order T-shirts provide clear information about production and delivery times.

Let buyers understand the situation along the way. The frustration stems from not knowing what happened. Use email (or SMS, if enabled) to notify customers of changes in order status. When providing a tracking number, remind customers that the carrier may not reflect the status immediately, and explain how they track the package in transit. For example, UPS sometimes needs to click a tab to view the last position of the package scan.

Play as Santa Claus: Help shoppers find what they need. When shoppers ask about products that are out of stock during the holidays, listen. If it is clear that consumers only want the product, please recommend a reputable competitor. It will not end the sale immediately, but it will win the trust of shoppers. Most people remember who provided help, especially during times of stress.

Honest message

Not all stores have the time or resources to implement all these steps. Nonetheless, focus on addressing shoppers’ usually self-evident concerns. A message at checkout regarding expected order fulfillment and shipping time can also greatly help build loyalty.

In this holiday season, brands will gain or lose a lot. However, by being transparent about potential pitfalls and helping customers complete the entire process, losses can be reduced. Never underestimate the impact of honest messaging.

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