Customer shopping habits have changed. Over the last two years, they have turned to online shopping, which in turn, forced all businesses to build up their eCommerce presences. With the holiday season about to heat up, Deloitte Insights predicts that 62% of holiday spending will be online. So it's critical for brands to connect with customers and stand out from the competition.
64% of consumers expect to be more emotionally invested in the holidays this year, especially since it's likely to be the first time in two years many families will spend this time together. According to Quantum Metric, 54% of Americans are looking to thoughtfully buy gifts for their loved ones, and therefore many will take their time making a decision on that purchase. This means that providing consumers with an engaging experience and connecting with them on a personal level is more important than ever.
Here are 5 ways brands can connect with customers and provide a superior digital experience.
1. Make it easy to make purchases
70% of consumers shop for seasonal gifts in-store, only to search for a lower price online. Additionally, many shoppers say they enjoy shopping in stores, but they find it more convenient to purchase online and have items delivered to them. So creating a seamless customer journey and checkout process with no hidden costs is paramount to getting those holiday sales.
To foster a seamless customer journey, create shorter paths-to-purchase by making all product images shoppable without disrupting the shopping experience. When a customer sees a beautiful lifestyle image that your marketing team has merchandized, whether on your brand's website or in emails, they should be able to add anything they want to cart without navigating away from the page. You can read more about creating a shorter path-to-purchase in our blog or learn how home furnishings brand Cox & Cox increased email conversions by linking lifestyle images.
2. Take advantage of trends
With the increasing scope of the digital landscape, new trends appear practically every day. Whether that's a social movement important to your customers, a new TikTok dance, or a celebrity-inspired fashion choice, keeping up with the things that resonate with your customer base will keep your brand relevant. In addition, being agile and timely with your customers will make them feel like you're on their wavelength and connected to your business.
This year's shopping behavior trends show that 68% of shoppers start their online shopping long before Black Friday. This means that brands need to build experiences outside of the traditional holiday calendar and start connecting with consumers now. By having an agile marketing strategy, you'll be able to keep up with shifting social and economic trends. This is especially important this year with expected distribution difficulties for many retailers. For tips, tactics, examples, and expert advice for a successful holiday season, download our 2021 eCommerce Guide for the Holiday Season.
3. Tap into social media
Sprout Social notes, "For brands to build true connections with people, they need to meet consumers on their preferred communication channels and create content that puts a brand's own people front and center."
65% of consumers feel more connected to brands that have a robust presence on social media because they feel like there are real people behind the brand. Allowing customers to get to know who is working behind the scenes and the internal culture and values makes them feel a personal connection.
Going a step further, encourage brand employees to post on different social channels. 72% of people feel more connected to a brand whose employees share information on social media. If employees are happy and enthusiastic about the brand, then it instills a feeling of trust. There are many social platforms, and depending on your audience, different types of social content will be more relevant. For example, if your audience is Gen Z, then TikTok and Snapchat are a great place to start, if they are Millennials, then Facebook and Instagram may be better suited. Choosing the right platform is essential, but consistency and the quality of content are equally as important.
Here are 7 social media behaviors that help brands connect with customers:
Like or respond to a consumer
Showcase the brand's personality
Support a cause a consumer personally supports
Participate in relevant conversations
Highlight industry or category trends
Create strong online communities
Invite user-made content
4. Prioritize mobile optimization
We all know that mobile responsiveness is important. But this holiday season, more purchases will be made on mobile devices than ever before, with 25% of Americans planning to primarily shop on their phones. In addition, with 75% of smartphone users abandoning websites that aren't mobile-friendly, prioritizing optimizing your site for different devices is crucial in driving those holiday sales. Also, distracted shopping is happening more frequently, with 72% of shoppers choosing to browse while doing something else, such as streaming Netflix. The easier it is for your customers to make purchases on their phones, the more sales you will get. You can read more stats that every marketer needs to know in The Complete Guide to Digital Experience Statistics.
5. Personalized shopping experiences
Personalizing shopping experience and guided selling can help customers find the perfect gifts that they are looking for for their friends and family.
Providing your customers with a customized digital experience will encourage them to interact and connect with your brand. For example, you can create quizzes to help them find the perfect gifts or educate them about complex products. This will not only engage and connect buyers to what they need or want, but it will also make them feel that they are getting a personalized experience. Learn more about the benefits of using quizzes in your content marketing.
On top of making interactive shopping experiences for your customers to enjoy, it's beneficial to use audience data to provide tailored product selections. By accumulating data on their buying behaviors and preferences, you can serve them content they are most likely to purchase. Amazon does this well with recommended products featured on product detail pages (PDP) as 'you might also like' and 'frequently bought together'. Many brands also use these product recommendations on their homepages, along with 'bestseller lists' and 'seasonal favorites features' to push particular products.
An agile marketing strategy and connecting with your customers during a competitive and spend-heavy holiday season will increase conversions and ROI.
Does your tech stack allow you to easily make engaging content for your customers? Creator empowers marketers to go from design to live interactive digital experience in 90% less time. Schedule a 30-minute demo to see how easy it is to keep your brand on trend and connect with your customers.