Increased scepticism and decreased spend: How to tackle a Golden Quarter like no other
Like it or not, Christmas is fast approaching. In ordinary times, the Golden Quarter would be when retailers across the board are able to thrive, with conversions bolstered by Black Friday sales closely followed by an onslaught of Christmas shoppers. But in the current climate of economic uncertainty, things are going to be different.
Our recent consumer survey found that whilst almost half (48%) of British consumers say their Christmas spend planning is already underway, the same number plan to browse or buy only from brands they know and trust during the Golden Quarter. According to the research, we are set to see increased sales scepticism, and decreased consumer spend this Christmas, so how can retailers navigate this year’s Golden Quarter?
Trust as a top priority
For the sales sceptic a friendly face is likely to be more reassuring than any browser, and with the advantage of face-to-face interaction, there are multiple ways retailers can build consumer trust in-store. However, with over half (51%) of consumers planning to do their shopping online this Christmas, it is vital that this same level of trust is achievable across both physical and digital channels.
One way retailers can achieve this is by embracing new and non-invasive data strategies. Where consumers may come across a friendly face in a local store, ecommerce retailers are regarded far more cautiously. According to Salesforce, 63% of consumers feel companies aren’t transparent enough about how customer data is being used online, and nearly 48% of customers today actively avoid certain companies because of data privacy concerns.
Enter zero-party data: accurate customer information obtained through proactive customer engagement. Zero-party data strategies are the only option for brands looking to build a customer relationship based on trust and transparency. By inviting customers to share data through registration systems, questionnaires, surveys or quizzes, retailers create an open and honest dialogue. This way, brands can deliver the personalisation and privacy that today’s customers look for in their go-to ecommerce brands, and position themselves as the first choice for consumers scrambling to purchase gifts earlier than ever before.
Tackling shortages with service
Christmas gift shopping isn’t easy at the best of times, and amongst growing concern of toys and tech shortages, consumers this year will want to be all the more sure of their purchasing decisions. In the past, consumers looking for personalised advice or recommendations have opted to go in-store, but with the shift to ecommerce retailers must learn how to match these personal experiences online.
Shoppers looking to purchase gifts they are unfamiliar with online - for example, a grandparent looking to buy the latest gaming device for their grandchild - may not know where to start with the range of products and brands presented to them. With the right technology, brands can simulate the customer service offered by in-store sales assistants, and provide the guidance consumers need to discover and choose such products. Through problem solvers and surveys, retailers can understand customers' motivations and problems, guide them to relevant products and give them the information they need to make that all-important purchasing decision.
As we approach this Christmas with a raft of uncertainties in tow, building trust and delivering exceptional customer experiences will be paramount. With the right technology, online retailers can win over 2021’s sceptical and cautious consumer.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how technology can help your business bring in-store service online, get in touch with the Ve team today.