2022 E-COMMERCE GUIDE:

How to Build Loyal Customers for the Holidays and Beyond

a person reviewing our ecommerce guide on her smartphone

2022 E-Commerce Guide:
How to Build Loyal Customers for the Holidays and Beyond

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Holiday shopping is here! Despite dire warnings about inflation and supply chain issues, all indications point to a strong holiday shopping season in 2022 – one that’s already in full swing. Amazon added a second “Prime Day” in October to capitalize on early holiday shoppers, and e-commerce is expected to continue its trajectory of massive post-pandemic growth. 

How are brands setting themselves apart this holiday season – and how can you build loyal customers long after the holiday rush is over? That’s what this guide is all about! At Global Response, we’ve been dialing into customer demand for decades, and we’ve put together a comprehensive guide for Holiday E-Commerce & Retail Customer Experience. Use this guide to explore the 2022 holiday shopping trends and eight tips for maintaining brand loyalty far beyond the holiday season.

1

Social platforms & e-commerce will drive shopping…

Use our extensive data analytics and cross-selling tools to increase your average order value and boost sales across your entire product inventory. Great customer service translates to higher conversions and retention.

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Only 4% of U.S. holiday shoppers say they didn’t use any digital channels for their holiday shopping.
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48% of consumers worldwide say they get shopping inspiration online.
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Influencers also play a crucial role: 89% of shoppers worldwide say YouTube creators give them the best product information.
2

…But in-store experiences are coming back​

According to Deloitte’s 2021 holiday season recap, shoppers had already started to return to in-person shopping. And they also increased shopping for in-person events like parties, excursions, travel, dining, and more. 

Google reports that searches for “open now near me” have grown worldwide by over 400% yearly. 

In short, shoppers expect a frictionless experience from Instagram to brand websites, in-store shopping, and customer support.

3

Shopping will start early​

According to Google’s Consumer Insights report, 40% of U.S. shoppers say they plan to start holiday shopping earlier this year. Some shoppers even said they started holiday shopping during the summer.

What does this mean for e-commerce? It means the holiday shopping season just got longer – and bigger. Scaling your CX staffing up and down according to customer demand just got more complicated. And the competition is fiercer than ever.

4

Customer loyalty programs will drive growth

Loyalty programs have become a leading source of new customer acquisition and long-term customer loyalty. With inflation and supply chain concerns, consumers seem more willing than ever to sign up for memberships if they ensure access to discounts and scarce products.

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of consumers shopped with specific brands because they were members.
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of consumers joined a loyalty program during the holidays to receive a discount.
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of consumers said they would join a loyalty program to access scarce products.
5

Customer experience will differentiate the best companies

According to the UK’s National Retail Federation, 97% of consumers will abandon a purchase if they experience inconvenience. 83% of consumers say that convenience is more important than it was a few years ago.

Today’s consumers expect responsiveness, ease, and an intuitive user experience. The
companies that do the best holiday business will be the ones that solve best for a seamless,
delightful customer experience.

8 Ways to Build Brand Loyalty for the Holidays and Beyond

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With all this in mind, it’s clear that a robust customer service strategy is key to surviving the holidays in retail and e-commerce. But building amazing customer experiences is easier said than done. 

Fortunately, amazing customer experiences are our wheelhouse here at Global Response. So we’ve developed a guide to the top eight strategies we use to build brand loyalty during the holiday shopping season – that lasts long after the holiday rush.

1

Prioritize customer service

Customer service is so essential to e-commerce success that it almost goes without saying. But we’ll say it – over and over again!

The UK’s Institute of Customer Service found that customers can spend up to $65 more per transaction when treated with excellent customer service. Companies must ensure a seamless customer experience workflow and top-notch training and support for customer service representatives.

Fila logo

As FILA’s third-party contact center solution, Global Response flipped customer experience around and drove a 25% increase in online sales. How? By focusing on integrating a seamless, delightful customer experience.

According to Dawn Trenson,
FILA’s VP of E-Commerce in North America:

There was a transformation from people reacting to our [third-party] customer service with comments like, ‘I never want to do business with you again’ to now, with Global Response, becoming repeat loyal customers.
2

Meet your customers where they are

According to Google’s consumer reports, 49% of customers globally say they have done more shopping online in the past year.

Shopping is online, on social media, and in-store. Customers shop from their couch, bed, office, and commute. And with each shopping experience, customers expect to pick up where they left off and have ease built into every part of the journey. They expect it all to feel like one continuous conversation. 

In other words, a “frictionless” shopping experience isn’t a luxury anymore; it’s an expectation. For e-commerce brands, it’s a strategy. You know it as “omnichannel.” Customers know it as “convenient.”

Lacoste Logo

With LACOSTE, Global Response helped create just such a convenient, omnichannel CX solution. By integrating live voice, chat, and email response services, Lacoste delivered just-in-time, personalized, interactive assistance that increased online sales, improved CSAT, and served customers more efficiently.

3

Put customers in the driver’s seat

Excellent customer experience is all about understanding what your customer wants. Are they seeking a high-touch, VIP shopping encounter? Or do they prefer the “Amazon” experience of low-touch, fast, convenient service?

Nuance logo

Nuance Enterprise surveyed global consumers and found that 67% of respondents preferred self-service over speaking to a representative. 91% said they would use an online knowledge base or FAQ.

Put your customer in the driver’s seat this holiday season by developing a rich knowledge base and FAQ that enables customers to resolve issues themselves. User-friendly interfaces and omnichannel solutions can reduce call volume and free up your team while driving customer satisfaction at the same time.

4

Automate, automate, automate

While automation can seem cold or inhuman, it can increase the level of connection that customers feel to your brand. After all, chat automation can address far more customer needs than one person, and customers leave feeling heard and having solutions.

Automations help brands connect with customers at scale and build an impression that last far after the holidays are over.

Order tracking and updates
Product recommendations
Sizing or style questions
Inventory updates
Upselling and cross-selling opportunities
Website support
5

Be ready to scale up!

Every leader in e-commerce knows: the holidays are the time to scale up! But scaling your team can be a nightmare of temporary contracts, unskilled workers, and customer satisfaction slumps.

One of the best solutions to the problem of scale is to outsource your customer experience to an expert. Outsourcing your contact center costs less than hiring in-house and provides highly skilled customer service representatives who can ramp up or down quickly.

At Global Response, we have decades of experience consulting with retail and e-commerce brands to help them scale for the holidays. 

With one of our e-commerce clients, we helped them expand a CX team in less than half the standard training time during the chaos of the 2020 holiday season. By sourcing brand specialists, streamlining training, and improving business processes, we cut ramp time by 66% and delivered across-the-board customer service gains.

6

Invest in loyalty strategies

Remember these stats from Deloitte? During the 2021 holidays, 81% of consumers shopped with specific brands because they were members. 61% of consumers joined a loyalty program to receive a discount. 43% of consumers said they would join a loyalty program to access scarce products.

Loyalty programs work

– and the holidays are the perfect time to enroll new customers who will stick with your brand long term.

But loyalty programs often become too complex for customers, or companies don’t track the correct data to make the program valuable. The key to a loyalty program that drives results is in-depth data, streamlined customer experience, and personalized customer support.

Here’s a simple example of a loyalty strategy.

We implemented a loyalty treatment to an interactive voice response software with one of our retail partners. When the system recognizes customers as loyalty members, they automatically skip the IVR menu and become a priority in the queue. 

With simple strategies to recognize loyal customers, we helped our partner lower attrition rates across the board in just one quarter.

7

Personalize everything!

In the words of Jeff Bezos,

If we want to have 20 million customers, then we want to have 20 million ‘stores.’ …Our mission is to be the earth’s most customer-centric company.

Personalization is applying data to each touchpoint of your customer’s journey to feel they have a relationship with your brand. You can personalize everything from email headings to cross-selling recommendations to Instagram ads. 

The holiday shopping season is critical to collect rich data on your new and returning customers. Use that data to inform your strategy and boost performance. You can then use those insights to make every customer touchpoint feel unique to each customer.

Google says that companies who use first-party data for their marketing strategy have achieved up to nearly 3X more revenue and a 1.5X increase in cost savings.
8

Leverage data insights for post-holiday marketing strategy

Speaking of data, the information you collect during the holiday season should drive your strategy for the new year. You can use the information on what they bought, who they are, etc., to continue to build momentum when the holiday rush is over.

One of the best ways to leverage this data is through a personalized, data-driven post-holiday email campaign. Email has an average ROI of 122%, which is significantly higher than other marketing channels. If you’ve tracked customer behavior, you can tailor the email campaign and other communications to their interests, needs, and habits.

Translating that personalized data into your 2023 marketing strategy can ensure that you keep the new customers you got during the holidays.

Conclusion

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According to Sanat Rao,
the Chief Business Officer and Global Head of Finacle:

A survey of almost 2,000 business professionals found that by 2020, customer experience would overtake product and price as the key brand differentiator.​

About Global Response

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