There’s a myriad of ways out there to make Christmas shopping more enjoyable. And while many of the biggest retailers plan Christmas up to a year in advance, you don’t need to have followed suit.
It may take only a few minor adjustments before you see your customers’ stress levels tumble. And we’re not just talking about mulled wine, but that would certainly help.
How spreading some Christmas cheer by helping with gift shopping? A member of staff could give personalised advice to customers struggling to decide what to buy tricky family members.
Having an area for children to play safely or an in-store Father Christmas to keep kids happy can also make the shopping experience less of a hassle.
“There are lots of simple ways to make things a bit easier for harried customers in the run-up to Christmas,” says Sharon Manikon, Director of Customer Solutions, Barclaycard. “And while some may mean making small investments, giving your customers a more relaxed experience or helping them with a problem present could well pay off in increased sales and future loyalty.”
Are your carol singers out of tune?Let’s talk about music. A certain amount of festive tunes might encourage shoppers to buy by getting them in the Christmas mood, but we all know what happens when you’ve heard them too many times. Let’s put it this way – there’s a delicate balance to strike.
But the good news is the retail industry moves faster than you can say ‘five gold rings’, and that includes new opportunities for better customer service.
One thing that’s becoming increasingly out-dated is the great British queue. With technology allowing consumers so much convenience these days, people are less willing to spend ages waiting to pay.
Taking payments through contactless can cut queues by speeding up the process. Mobile payment technology such as Apple Pay is also helping to improve the customer experience, with shoppers only having to tap their phones on a reader to check out.
Are your customers home for Christmas?
Another way to increase convenience for shoppers is to take your shop to them. Pop-ups in markets, offices or even people’s homes are great examples of making it easier for customers to buy, and portable card readers mean you can take payments anytime and anywhere.
Allowing people to browse your products and shop for them online is an instant win for those that can’t face the shops. It’s important that your online payment systems are up-to-date and can handle a spike in traffic, so that customers can enjoy an online experience that is stress-free.
But it’s also important to be aware of cybercrime, which can be rife at this time of year. Nothing kills the festive spirit faster, so keep your guard up by keeping your eyes open for anything unusual happening on your website.
“It’s also important to reassure your customers that their payments are safe when they’re shopping online,” says Sharon. “A great way of doing this is to have a hosted payment page from a provider that both you and your customers will trust.”
*Figures are based on Barclaycard research conducted in November 2016 from a total sample size of 2098 UK adults.