What Your Customers Are Thinking About During Christmas 2020
Guest post from OnBuy on what shoppers are thinking this holiday season, along with ways to address their concerns and keep them coming back to your store.
With several thousand sellers and millions of products that span all major shopping categories, OnBuy is the fastest-growing online marketplace in the world.
Understanding what consumers want is such a big part of how to be successful in eCommerce – yet understanding anything about 2020 in general seems to be asking the Earth! As we hurtle towards a Christmas that looks to be unique for all sorts of reasons, it’s safe to say that the concerns, ambitions and buying habits of your customer base – and the customers you hope to attract, too – are looking pretty different this year.
Understanding the buyer psyche is something that takes time and effort – and with all of us doubled down to keep the lights on as an unforgettable year comes to a close, this might be time and effort you just can’t afford to expend right now. No need to worry, though. Here are some of the main concerns of your buyers this Christmas, and advice on how to put their minds at ease to keep them coming back to you for their purchases, both over the holiday season and beyond.
Festive Feelings Are Now a Need for Normality
It’s tricky to remember a time when the future looked certain. And if you feel that way in your business, imagine how it feels for customers trying to comprehend what’s going to happen to their jobs, their families and their finances this Christmas.
If your customer service and marketing voices are to have any undercurrent this holiday season, make it one of confidence, compassionate reassurance and certainty. Naturally, it can be challenging to know what to feel certain about yourself at times, but customers are looking for brands with heart and warmth more than ever now, to provide an anchoring point and a voice of reason amid all this noise.
Let customers know that you’re going to do all you can to ensure their orders arrive swiftly, securely and safely – whether you’re offering the essentials no home should be without, or offering the must-have gifts of the season.
Remember, nothing feels normal for consumers anymore, and many of them are worried about whether they’ll have the chance to see their families or afford the gifts they wanted to give this Christmas. Show some empathy and encouragement in your overall message, and your reliability will be rewarded.
Prepare for Plenty of Questions
Even if you’ve done everything you can to prepare your business for Q4 2020, and embraced marketplaces like OnBuy either as a sole route to market or as part of your multichannel strategy, it’s almost certain that customers are going to have a higher number of inquiries than usual.
Many of these will echo the themes of last year and the years before – after all, questions regarding where a given order is in its journey from your dispatch process to the customer’s home are always popular at this time of year!
However, it’s anticipated to be especially prevalent this Q4, owing to the many complicating factors of 2020. Not only have delivery and fulfilment specialists essentially been in their ‘peak season’ mode of operation more or less all year, but recent events have also meant that there is a projected shortfall in delivery drivers looming in the UK, US and numerous other countries as Christmas approaches.
Unfortunately, this is likely to mean that delays and difficulties will arise as the festive shopping season gets going in earnest. Customers are going to need reassurance, so patiently and compassionately ensure they know the facts: that everyone is down drivers this year, that it’s busier than ever because we’re all buying online instead of shopping in person, and – perhaps what’s easiest to forget – manufacturing itself keeps getting disrupted by the pandemic.
The prevailing advice being given by retailers and marketplaces is to shop for Christmas as early as possible, to spread the cost and avoid the logistics bottlenecks expected to stifle the season. Many outlets now have finally admitted what consumers have perhaps known for the last few years all along – that Black Friday is basically Black November now – but Q4 sales and promotions, in general, are arriving earlier in the calendar year.
They’re expected to do the same in the years that follow, and OnBuy’s own Black Friday event – where the marketplace discounted every product onsite at no additional cost to sellers – was a strong and successful example of why.
Creating the Personal Touch this Christmas
Successfully retaining customers now, when they have more choice than ever and are more likely to shop around if they can’t find what they want, comes down to emphasizing the human touch.
Customers are looking to not only align with companies who most deserve their trust, but also those who can consistently give them what they want – ethically! Success both in the festive season and beyond relies on your ability to convey to your buyers that you’re not just another faceless corporation. After all, when selling online, there’s no face-to-face rapport you can build, so you need to convey that personality another way.
Think about the values your business can bring and why customers will want to hear about them. Are you a family business, setting up shop to weather the economic storm and grow via a fair, ethical and transparent marketplace? Perhaps you’ve been championing online sales for years and are proud to be offering jobs, optimism and a lifeline of supplies for both your customers and your staff. Maybe you went into business to stand against the practices of the bigger players, and are determined to show how to do things differently through fair deals and open communication.
Whatever your message, say it loud and proud so customers know you can be trusted this holiday season. Just remember to also follow it up with world-class service!
A Holiday Season to Remember
There’s no denying that the festive season and 2020 in general will stick in the mind of plenty of entrepreneurs as we all move forward into 2021, and beyond. Yet by laying the effective groundwork now, you have the chance to set yourself up perfectly for the ‘new normal’ – not just for Christmas, but for the unpredictable decade to come.
From OnBuy’s perspective, there’s every reason to feel optimistic. As the world’s fastest-growing marketplace expands into over 140 countries by 2023, it’s clear that eCommerce is going to play a more vital role than ever in how we all shop, trade and function going forward.