Mastering Post-Purchase Satisfaction During the Holiday Season

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To ensure your success during peak holiday season, retailers must fine-tune every aspect of their post-purchase and returns process, optimizing it for the best results. According to a recent report by Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to choose brands that offer relevant offers and recommendations. This extends to the delivery of personalized post-purchase and returns experiences.

What We Learned:

Throughout our conversation with Rick Egan (Bed, Bath & Beyond), Colleen Waters (Steve Madden), and Sowmya Murthy (parcelLab), we learned various strategies and insights related to post-purchase experiences and returns management, particularly with the peak holiday shopping season approaching. The panelists shared important insights and advice:

  • Waters emphasized the importance of getting ahead of peak season by extending return windows and making sure the return experience is manageable for customers.
  • Egan highlighted the importance of focusing on customers throughout their entire journey, from initial purchases to returns and post-purchase interactions.
  • Murthy urged brands not to wait for customers but to move at the pace of consumer demand, encouraging brands to take the initiative.

During a rapid-fire round, the panelists shared their favorite brands for shopping and post-purchase experiences:

  • Waters and Egan mentioned Nordstrom and praised their easy returns process.
  • Murthy mentioned Patagonia for its excellent buying and post-purchase experience, as it encourages repair and sustainability.

The discussion also touched on personalization, the role of AI in improving returns management and staying competitive during the peak season.

• Rick Egan, VP Performance Marketing, Bed Bath & Beyond
• Colleen Waters, Senior Director, E-Commerce, Steve Madden
• Sowmya Murthy, Head of Product Marketing, parcelLab
• Moderated by: Jill Dvorak, Chief Content Officer, CommerceNext

Watch the replay below or read on for the key takeaways:

A Time of Gift-Giving, Joy and Increased Ecommerce Activity

While winning the sale during this period is crucial, mastering post-purchase satisfaction becomes even more vital. Happy customers not only return for future purchases but also share their positive experiences, influencing others to do the same. Here’s how to make sure we are keeping customers satisfied post-purchase during the holiday season:

Efficient Shipping and Delivery:

  • Set realistic delivery estimates: Be transparent about expected delivery times.
  • Utilize advanced tracking and notifications: Keep customers informed about their order status.
  • Offer various shipping options: Give customers the choice of standard, express or same-day delivery.
  • Streamline the holiday returns process: Simplify the return experience during this busy season. (More on this later.)
  • Pickup Scheduling: If you include shipping labels in your packaging, allow customers to schedule package pickups from their homes.

Egan suggests, “Communication is key. Regularly update your customers on their order’s progress, especially during the busy holiday period.”

Personalized Communication:

  • Send personalized holiday greetings, offering discounts or exclusive deals.
  • Request product reviews and ratings once customers have had time to enjoy their purchases.
  • Leverage customer data to create tailored recommendations for holiday gifts.
  • Send post-purchase surveys to gain insights into the holiday shopping experience.
  • Alternative Communication: Recognize that Gen Z prefers texting over email. Consider texting customers their thank you notes and tracking information.

Murthy highlights the importance of collecting feedback: “Feedback during the holiday season can be incredibly valuable for future improvements and building a loyal customer base.”

Holiday Content:

  • Share holiday-themed product guides and gift ideas.
  • Recommend festive decorations or accessories to complement the purchased items.
  • Showcase user-generated content, such as customer reviews or photos of holiday celebrations.
  • Create how-to videos for assembling, decorating or using holiday products.

Waters suggests, “Offering useful holiday content can make the shopping experience more enjoyable and memorable for your customers.”

Cross-Channel Integration:

  • Enable in-store pick-up for online orders to cater to omnichannel shoppers.
  • Allow online order tracking through your physical stores.
  • Offer cross-channel returns, allowing customers to return online purchases in-store.
  • Use unified customer data to personalize recommendations across all channels.

Egan emphasizes the importance of cross-channel integration, stating, “A customer’s journey should remain consistent across all touchpoints, regardless of whether it’s online or in-store.”

Addressing Customer Feedback:

  • Encourage customers to share their experiences, especially during the holiday rush.
  • Monitor online reviews and social media for customer sentiment.
  • Address recurring issues promptly to ensure a smooth holiday shopping experience.
  • Leverage feedback to make the necessary adjustments for the following holiday season.

The Importance of Effortless Returns

When customers decide to return a product, how you handle the process can significantly impact their overall shopping experience. An easy, hassle-free return experience can turn a one-time shopper into a loyal customer.

How to Remove Friction Points in the Return Process:

  • QR Codes and Email Alternatives: Gen Z prefers text messages to email for communication. Send essential updates, such as return confirmations and tracking information, via SMS. Integrate QR codes for easy returns. Customers can scan the code at a drop-off point, simplifying the return process.
  • Printerless Solutions: Acknowledge that many households no longer have printers. Make it easy for customers by offering printerless options for return labels.

Mastering post-purchase satisfaction during the holiday season is not only about selling products but also creating a delightful and memorable shopping experience. Efficient shipping, personalized communication, holiday content, cross-channel integration and addressing customer feedback are key elements that can make a significant difference. By applying these strategies, you can transform holiday shoppers into loyal customers, boost brand advocacy and set the stage for continued success in the years to come. Remember, the holiday season offers a unique opportunity to create lasting impressions and build strong customer relationships.

If you want to learn more insights like these, be sure to join us at the CommerceNext Ecommerce Growth Show on June 11-13, 2024 in the heart of commerce!