When shopping during the gift-giving season, buyers are wary of what they might get—and when they might get it. So step up to ease their minds and take the worry out of their Yuletide buying.
If you've been good all year and have delighted customers for the past 11 months, this is the time to brag about it
Here are five golden rules you can use to deliver some comfort and joy for your buyers, giving them the confidence that you'll deliver what they need, on time and as advertised. In the process, you'll build shoppers' trust—something that money can't buy but can bring joy to you after the holidays.
1. Share a little bit about yourself
In this online age, most shoppers are advised to seek, search and compare before they buy anything. They're counseled to look for the best prices and best reputations—businesses with reputations.
This puts your business reputation in twinkling lights for everyone to see and determine if you're the seller who can deliver.
Therefore, as you're trimming your online store with all sorts of holiday glitz and glitter, make sure to display customer testimonies that prove you're a seller to be trusted, year in and year out.
Shoppers are looking for recommendations from others and feedback of their experiences. If you've been good all year and have delighted customers for the past 11 months, this is the time to brag about it. This is also the first piece of assurance that hurried holiday shoppers are looking for.
2. Be concise and clear
As much as any of us love eye-dazzling decoration, when it comes to shopping, holiday buyers are looking to find exactly what they want, quickly and easily.
Don't display goods that might seem misleading (either in features or function) to hook a less-than-attentive shopper. Instead, indicate precisely what you have to offer (using simple descriptions and clean images), and then be clear about what you don't have to offer.
If there's still a bit of hesitation about holiday shopping online, it stems from the uncertainty over whether an item will be delivered when needed
If what you have isn't the hot ticket item of the year but, rather, just the next best thing, say so. Buyers don't want to be duped, and they'll become enraged if they feel you've misled them.
However, if you're very clear about what you're offering—even when you do have the ultra-desirable whatever-it-is—they'll be able to shop and buy with greater confidence. That makes shoppers happy, and it will make them happy with you, too.
3. Be prompt in your communication
Once shoppers have found what they want in your store or listings, be sure you have a confirmation process that assures them their orders have been received and are in processing. They need to know they just spent their money in a trustworthy establishment, and the first step to delivering that comfort is to communicate quickly and effectively.
Then, as the order fulfillment proceeds, continue communicating with them. These days it's easy to provide real-time updates, what with online postage services providing confirmation and affirmation that an item has shipped, is on the way and can be followed along its journey. With this, buyers can rest easy knowing their purchases have been good ones and they can track them every step of the way.
4. Be steadfast in delivering on time
Most important during the busy shopping season is the assurance that an item will arrive on time. If there's still a bit of hesitation about holiday shopping online, it stems from the uncertainty over whether an item will be delivered when needed.
Help shoppers by first stating the delivery services you offer (Standard, Expedited, Rush) and what delivery date they should expect depending on their method of choice. This puts the control of cost and arrival in shoppers' hands. But when the order is placed, don't delay in fulfilling that shipment.
If you can, upgrade the delivery method and your buyer's face will surely light up with the surprise
A two-day delivery is only good if the item is shipped the day it's ordered. If you drag your feet during the fulfillment process, you'll have an unhappy buyer on your hands and will risk not only that buyer's wrath but also that of everyone she complains to.
Ease shoppers' minds by shipping when you promise and, again, providing quick communication to confirm the goods are on their way.
5. Be willing to go the extra mile
And since this is the season of giving, be prepared to give just a little extra to ensure buyers will be delighted.
The easiest thing you can do to add some magic to the situation is to upgrade the shipping method for what was purchased. Some shoppers will cut it too close ("It should probably get here by Dec. 24, so I'll go with Standard Delivery").
Maybe it will arrive on time, but what if it doesn't? If you can, upgrade the delivery method and your buyer's face will surely light up with the surprise. That's good business and is the best P.R. you can hope to get. It might shave a few dollars off your profit margin, but it's likely one of the least expensive ways to earn a customer's loyalty going forward. Most important, you can sit back knowing you've spread a bit of holiday delight in going that extra step.
As exciting as this shopping season can be, it can also be filled with stress and consternation. Take these few steps (and maybe a few more that you can think of) to help make your customers' holiday just a bit better. For your efforts, you'll likely gain more customers in the long run and, in the end, it will be a win-win for all involved—and that's quite comforting, indeed.