At $630.5 billion in holiday spending, this season is poised to be one of the biggest on record, according to the National Retail Federation.
But retailers have more to be thankful for than just a strong economy. There are 4 major trends at work over the past several years that are contributing to what will be a historic retail season.
And it’s the top-tier retailers who understand these customer care trends who will be finding huge revenue numbers under the tree this year.
Let’s break down the 4 biggest trends in retail spending as it relates to holiday customer care.
1. Consumers Spending More
As the economy continues to improve, holiday spending rises, potentially for the third consecutive year. Increased spending is great for retailers, but with more spending comes an increased demand on customer care and customer support teams.
Customer satisfaction numbers must remain high, even as shopping volumes increase. That means that retailers need to be able to scale up their customer service teams seamlessly.
And not only that, but as customer spending increases, so do repeat purchases. According to consumers themselves, 52% would purchase from a retailer again after a good customer service experience. That makes great customer care an important growth strategy, and puts retailers without a scalable customer service partner at a distinct disadvantage.
2. More Shopping Days
Historically, the shopping season was a drawn out affair slowly building up to the week before Christmas. And since the early 2000s, Black Friday has become the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, with in-store “doorbuster” deals driving people out of their turkey comas and into their local malls in the early morning hours after Thanksgiving.
Now in recent years, there are two more shopping holidays for consumers to mark down on their calendars. Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, and Green Monday, the second Monday in December, have created two more frenzied spikes of online shopping, with those two days, alone, combining for nearly $4.5B in 2014.
With all of these spending holidays creeping onto the calendar, retailers have more days of peak shopping, which means higher demand on customer support staff and resources for a longer period of time.
3. Mobile Shopping
Device sales for tablets and smartphones have seen massive increases every single year for the past 5 years and 10 years, respectively, and mobile shopping behavior is catching up.
It’s projected that 2015 will see $119 billion in global mobile commerce, and that’s putting increased stress on e-commerce departments and customer service teams.
More mobile devices on the market being used for shopping means more potential issues and new technical hurdles for consumers during the shopping process. It also means there are now more ways that a customer care representative can be helpful to customers during the season.
Customer care teams need to be fully versed in their mobile shopping process, known issues, and be equipped to create immediate fixes that can ensure a successful purchase for consumers on their smartphones and tablets.
4. New Generations Coming Online
Two new generations are in the process of coming online to shop: Baby Boomers and Gen-Z.
For Baby Boomers, it’s about becoming more comfortable shopping online. More and more, they are shopping for clothing, gadgets, and gifts online.
And Generation-Z, or the Millennials, while “born online,” are just now acquiring disposable income as they enter the workforce.
These two new generations spending online creates not only new shoppers, but also new customer service challenges. The two audiences have vastly different expectations for customer support - Baby Boomers looking to talk with a real person on the phone, while Gen-Z looks for instant resolution through live chat or social media.
Retailers who cater to either of these new audiences must have customer care teams or partners in place who can respond to these new expectations.
Is your team planning to shift customer care strategies and expand the scope of customer support in 2016? Reach out to one of our Vcare Customer Care Experts today to discuss your goals for the new year.