by Dionne Lackey
Let’s look at this through the prism of Black Friday, which has changed holiday trading patterns in the UK for good. When the online trolley dash gets going in a couple of weeks, social media will be a first port of call for assistance. It will also be a powerful tool for retailers to build loyalty with existing customers, and those who might be trying a brand for the first time to nab a bargain. It will provide a live commentary and periscope for businesses to see how all elements are aligning in such a short burst of frenetic buying. If brands deliver and the experience is good, people may well come back in the following weeks to cross off more items on their Christmas lists.
And, the stakes are getting higher for participating retailers
Last year, shoppers shelled out £3.3 billion over the weekend, according to Experian-IMRG. This year, E-commerce consultancy Salmon predicts £5 billion will be up for grabs over a protracted five-day shopping period between 24 and 28 November. It’s no longer just a day. It’s the trading name for a long weekend of deals and discounts, consuming Cyber Monday in the backdraft. In 2015, Monday sales dipped 34% on 2014 as deal fatigue set in. It’s no longer a store event. Footfall was much lighter than the previous year when there was an almighty bun fight in shops. Last year, website, warehouse and customer service teams worked flat out to cope with the deluge in online orders. Figures from Experian-IMRG showed that UK online sales on Black Friday alone jumped 36% on 2014 at £1.1 billion.
Capacity to cope
Retailers will have completed rigorous capacity tests to make sure websites cope with the high octane shopping marathon, putting the mistakes of previous years behind them when many sites crashed. Consumers will also expect brands to cope on social channels as online activities intensify. Events like Black Friday compound the pressure on frontline support teams, but not all retailers will be equipped to handle and analyse interactions in near real-time and at scale.
Is your brand ready?
Check out our new Social Customer Service Playbook for Retailers, for some last minute tips and best practice advice on how to cope with super-charged shopping events and improve social customer engagement.
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