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If your brand is looking to maximize its potential revenue during the Christmas shopping season, specifically Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM), combine your planned promotions and delivery options with AI-led, human-like communication with customers to provide so much more than run-of-the-mill CX.
Originally beginning as a US-centric activity, Black Friday grew out of the notion that November’s four-day Thanksgiving weekend opens the Christmas shopping season. Needing a break from family and boredom, shoppers flock to stores to seek deals, with retailers slashing prices on much-sought after items. As e-commerce took off with the rise of the internet, Cyber Monday became a way to save on Christmas gifts without having to brave the crowds. It is now a phenomenon that kicks off Christmas shopping seasons in many different regions of the world. It is a cultural phenomenon that has gone global — Black Days and even Black Weeks are advertised at retailers around the globe when the end of the calendar year comes around.
Christmas shopping can be a real hassle, but BFCM also poses a fun challenge to shoppers. Though it can be risky and even dangerous (as countless viral videos of people rushing storefronts can attest), it is equally exciting for shoppers to hunt for the best deals. For brands, it’s all about using BFCM for effective communication with customers to ensure an unforgettable Christmas experience for themselves and their loved ones. It follows, then, that customers want experiences that will help them get the best BFCM deals. Here are a few tips to not only help leverage engagement with your customers, but turn them into brand ambassadors for you.
Retailers have been trying to outdo each other by opening early seemingly since the beginning of the Black Friday phenomenon. First it was bright and early Friday morning. Then it was midnight on Friday. Now it’s unusual to not find a retailer that opens on Thanksgiving evening. For online storefronts that are always open, or brands that can’t open their branches that early, there is a way to get in the numbers game: talk to your buyers early and often.
They’re more willing to follow along than you realize; after a Thanksgiving dinner with family, people retreat and recharge, locking in to their phones where you can easily reach them and even prime them for a late-Thursday/early-Friday thrill. Use push notifications, or even targeted communication with customers (such as SMS messages) about when their chosen outlet opens. Even better if you’re ecommerce-oriented, as you can create and promote time-sensitive discounts on select items based on user preferences throughout BFCM. The more relevant and personalized notifications you send out, the more engagement you’ll garner to send them through your brand’s customer experience.
Once you’ve engaged them, BFCM provides intriguing ways to up- and cross-sell to buyers. Common sense says shopping experiences should not be uniform in nature; pushing items according to agenda rather than individual wants and needs yields diminishing returns. People like feeling seen and attended to, so providing personalized recommendations is a sure way to raise brand engagement. Recommend products based on purchase history, or even pull purchase history data from your CRM to recommend accessories based on previous transactions and search history.
Extended warranties or store-sponsored product care plans are also recommended additions, though setting these up may be a more intricate process as they involve getting and/or confirming customer data. Prompting a buyer using an on-screen chat, for example, could lead them to an AI-powered chatbot that will guide them through the process, or transfer them to a waiting agent for further assistance. It’s all about simplifying communications with customers and reducing customer effort with the right processes at the right time.
The value your brand can extend to buyers goes beyond the transaction. Aside from typical point-of-sale purchases, items can be specially ordered for later pickup at the store. By contrast, online shopping holds the potential to offer a wider array of options beyond shipping for customers to get their purchased items. Pre-ordering is convenient for those hot, yet-to-be-released items, whereas buy-online, pickup-in-store (BOPIS — also known as click-and-collect) and parcel locker options extend flexibility so packages can be exactly where the customer is.
To accommodate this wealth of options, IVRs equipped with natural language processing (NLP) technologies can be of help in letting customers be precise about which store location or parcel locker they want their purchase directed. Similarly, AI-led chatbots can lead customers through the shipping process by asking personalized, relevant and transaction-oriented questions.
The buying and delivery options you provide, as well as the style of communication with your customers, sums up your brand’s CX. It makes or breaks their decision to give you business. It also raises your chances of turning one-time BFCM customers into repeat business, and possibly even into brand ambassadors that will spread the word about the CX you offer.
Communicating with customers early and often during BFCM with fun and intriguing promotions, and using that to provide them value and flexibility through your customer experience allows brands to maximize revenue potential during one of the heaviest shopping periods of the year. For your next BFCM campaign, take a look at what the Odigo Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solution can do for your CX operations. Odigo solutions’ capacity for integration with your CRM, crafting omnichannel strategies and enabling brands to provide 24/7 service will help shape your CX approach for BFCM. Brands communicate with customers looking for both deals and delivery options, and our technology can automate the process to give them what they want while still providing patient, human-like interactions. As such, you’ll get your piece of the BFCM pie.
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