2020 has taught most businesses how to tackle uncertainties. Even as the economy gradually opens up, several companies are struggling to get back on their feet as they face fluctuating demand, limited operations, and ever-changing regulations.
According to a 2020 holiday predictions survey, 85% of the retailers interviewed estimated that online sales will increase in this holiday season as compared to 2019 and 55% said they are investing more in upgrading their eCommerce platforms.
It’s evident that this holiday season will take the competition to the next level while also posing new challenges for businesses to keep up with the increase in demand, handle shortages created by reduced scale of operations and, most importantly, build trust with new and existing customers.
This, in fact, is the perfect opportunity for businesses to gain the loyalty of wary online shoppers through a fulfilling and secure shopping experience.
Build Trust with Your eCommerce Customers.
Whether you’re a seasoned eCommerce company or have recently started your online store, these five trust-building tips will help you make the most of this pandemic-fraught holiday season.
1. Reassure customers about safety
The pandemic has everyone on the edge about the transmission of COVID-19 through physical contact. Physical distancing rules are either firmly in place or strongly recommended. Several companies have come up with a strict contact-less delivery policy to allow people to reap the benefits of home delivery without hesitation.
If your business has such a policy in place, along with other rules of how products are handled from packing to delivery and safety measures followed in your workplace, such as wearing of gloves, masks, and other protective equipment, make sure you communicate them clearly to your customers.
A great idea is to send an email about it to all of your subscribers to show them that their safety is your primary concern.
Moreover, communicate these policies to each and every member of your team and make sure that everyone is on board to make this virtual holiday shopping season safe for customers as well as staff.
2. Be transparent about delays
The competition in eCommerce makes it mandatory for businesses to be well-stocked at all times and offer the quickest, most hassle-free delivery possible.
However, most eCommerce companies rely on third parties such as suppliers, warehousing facilities, delivery management agencies, and customer support. Often, delays are caused by situations that are not in your hands.
Several companies had to press pause on their operations during the pandemic and while business is bouncing back now, companies are still at different stages of resuming their operations. This means that not everyone is operating at full capacity, which can lead to longer wait times than usual.
People, too, have become more patient with such inevitable delays but as a brand that cares about its customers, it is your duty to be transparent about any issues that impact their shopping experience.
Make sure you communicate realistic wait times so that people don’t have unrealistic expectations that set them up for disappointment. If a product is out of stock and it will take time for you to obtain it, let the customer know, offer alternatives, and reward their patience with a discount or a freebie.
3. Improve your website experience
If you’ve been considering a website revamp, this is the perfect time to do so. Here are three things to keep in mind when you’re looking to improve your website’s user experience.
Unique Landing Page
To highlight the merriment of the holiday season, you could create a unique landing page where you highlight all your start products that are perfect for holiday shopping.
To give it an additional flavor of branding, you could give this landing page a unique domain name such as www.holidaybonanza.store or www.merrytimes.fun. New domain extensions such as .store, .online, .fun, and .space, can add that extra spark in your branding.
Speed of site and service
People have little patience when it comes to browsing the Internet. Keep bounce rates low by ensuring that your website loads in less than 5 seconds. Optimize image sizes so that they load quickly. Remove all unnecessary plugins and make sure that the built-in apps for payments and other features are not slowing you down.
Optimize for mobile
While there’s nothing like your own mobile application, you can still create memorable mobile shopping experiences by optimizing your website for mobile devices. Before you start your holiday season campaign, see how your website loads and looks on different devices such as computers, phones, and tablets. Take steps to ensure it loads quickly, the alignments are proper, and that scrolling and browsing are easy.
4. Offer quick checkout
Customers have a lot to accomplish when they’re shopping during the holiday season and you can help them save time by offering a short and sweet checkout.
The fewer steps in your checkout process, the less likely people are to abandon their shopping carts. Limit your checkout process to no more than three steps: name and address, purchase review, and payment.
Every brand likes to gather contact information of their customers to get to know them better and continue to attract them with personalized offers and deals.
However, not every customer feels comfortable sharing their email address especially if they’re doing business with you for the first time.
Some customers just want to make the purchase and be done with it and they shouldn’t feel like they’re being compelled to create an account with you. Provide a guest checkout option to make shopping easy and stress-free for everyone.
Multiple payment options
People have different preferences when it comes to online payments. Some are apprehensive about divulging their card details to different companies. Some prefer online bank transfers. Others use third-party apps such as PayPal or Google Pay. Make sure you cater to all preferences by providing as many payment options as possible.
5. Secure your site
Several people are skeptical of online shopping for security reasons. They are unsure about what might happen when they need to input sensitive information such as personal details and credit card or bank account numbers when making online purchases.
As more people may resort to online shopping due to the closure of physical stores and for health safety concerns, eCommerce companies must reassure buyers that their information is safe at every step of the way.
If you haven’t obtained an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate for your website, this is the time to do so. This certificate ensures safe transmission of encrypted data from browsers to websites.
Websites that don’t have SSL of HTTPS in their URL are flagged as “insecure” by Google when a user tries to access them. This message can raise suspicion among visitors and discourage them from shopping on your website.
Apart from the SSL certificate, you should also display security seals across your payment pages, such as badges by trusted companies like Visa, Mastercard, Google, and PayPal so that people feel safe about sharing their sensitive bank account information.
Ready to make the most of the holiday eCommerce season?
The holiday season is always an exciting time for people and businesses, but this one is slated to be unlike any other. For people, it is an opportunity to connect with their loved ones after a difficult year, even if just through gifts or virtual meetings.
For businesses, it is an opportunity to make up for the losses suffered so far. By building trust among customers through safety measures and enhanced online shopping experience, businesses not only stand to increase their revenue but also evolve as players to watch out for in the eCommerce playing field.