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How To Win The Looming Shipping Chaos of the 2020 Holiday Season

The early signs all show it’s going to be tough for brands to keep all of their customers happy this time around. Here’s what you can still do to survive it

The coming holiday+shopping season is about to suffer from more stress on delivery services than perhaps ever in the history of online commerce. In part one, we explained the situation in detail and provided some added context and stats to increase your anxiety sense of urgency regarding this matter.

We also broke down one main way to try and mitigate this upcoming chaos by encouraging early purchases.

But that’s not all, and there’s more you can still do. Here we will break down 4 further tactics you should consider (and decide in favor, then execute. We’re just saying)

Prioritize Same Day Delivery

The thing is, there are ways to dance around delivery issues and make them work for you. So, it’s not just to help flatten the shipping curve but also to leverage to help make sure your best customers are getting the best service possible.

You can identify shoppers who have previously paid for shipping – they might also have a strong LTV. Since holiday shoppers who choose fast shipping prefer that it come within 2 days or less – prioritize giving them what they want (if a customer previously purchased expedited shipping, this could be an excellent customer to market to).

Other good ideas could be to have specific items available only to same-day purchases and to be more proactive and provide additional communication on where the package is (not just “shipped” or “delivered”). Keeping them in the loop could help built trust.

You can always offer future discounts for those who experienced delays. If orders are not received on time, create an offer that requires the customer to return for another purchase. Incentivize based on spending behaviors: allocate more of your offers to your more valuable customers.

And finally, offer lower prices to customers who purchase out of stock items today, agreeing to receive the item later.

Promote BOPIS or Curbside Pickup

Firstly, this is one of the most popular methods this year, with COVID and all. Secondly, it will also take some of the pressure off the delivery service. Do it by Incentivizing customers to elect to the “buy online, pick up in-store” option by making sure it is well highlighted and explained on your website and communications and offering some deals or other perks around it. Use dynamic mail elements to list the closest stores, holiday hours, and other coronavirus-related issues. And overall, just make it a pleasant and covid-safe experience.

Make Your Content Stand Out

Stating the obvious, aren’t we? Well, it’s especially important during such a period because you will have to do all you can to avoid message-fatigue. See, you are going to be sending a whole lot of communications during the next couple of months. If your messages are repetitive and too general, it will hurt your entire effort.

Start by unifying and personalizing your message across all touchpoints, as much as possible with your current tech-stack. Make sure to use the customer’s favorite products or categories to personalize emails, SMS, and website experience.

To do that, you got to ask yourself – does your customer have a pending wish list or an abandoned cart? If so, Offer discounts and incentives to complete their purchase. It’s low-hanging fruit, a simple way to provide a personalized experience.

Yes, you are most likely going to Batch and Blast sometime during the holidays. We know it’s hard to personalize for everyone all the time, so you’ll most likely have to send out some broad, general communications. Just make sure you still prioritize personalized campaigns where possible.

Execute selective-CRM tactics (as in, treat your VIPs best)

Yup, it’s not going to be easy. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Or something like that. Anyway, the point is that it’s going to be pretty much impossible to keep all your customers happy throughout the holidays. So you are going to have to prepare yourself to make some hard choices. And you want to first make sure you are keeping your VIPs happy. They are your most valuable customers, and losing them to a bad shipping experience will be devastating. Inform your VIP customers of expected delays. Don’t drop that ball. Compensate them if the product arrives late with special incentives.

If there are delays (and there WILL BE) delays, acknowledge it, make a special effort to notify them in advance, and make up for it. Especially during the holiday, most brands go for a one-size-fits-all kind of message. This is not a good idea here. The emails to your VIPs should be non-generic, maybe send a message from the CEO about them being a valued customer, sneak peek at the upcoming season, keeping them in the loop.

This is where we at Optimove can offer added help – and it starts with identifying your VIPs, segmenting customers by purchase amounts, or looking for old VIPs that churned – as the holidays are an excellent excuse to try and reactivate them.

Additionally, you should find your Frequent Buyers. These are clients who place orders frequently but pay lower amounts. These are not VIPs however, they are loyal and have high stickiness.

If you want to know more about the best ways to identify and segments your best types of customers for the holiday seasons and beyond, please reach out to Optimove’s marketing analysts and Strategic Services.

Happy shipping!

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