How to keep customers from feeling blue on Black Friday

Posted on Monday, November 19th, 2012 by

Thanksgiving is around the corner and with it comes lots of turkey, football, and the official kick-off to the holiday shopping season. However, for many consumers the turkey dinner on Thursday isn’t the highlight of the holiday. For them the highlight is Black Friday, the shopping day that follows.

The mythology of the day is that the name originated from retailers who would finally turn a profit for the year (or get in the black) on that day because of the sales surge. For consumers many of us love this holiday because we’ve all grown to expect the best bargains of the year to fall on this day.

The net result is what some consider the busiest day of the year when it comes to shopping traffic at malls and shopping centers across America.

In all that excitement it’s important for retailers not to lose sight of the customer experience they deliver on even the most hectic shopping occasions. Retailers should use Black Friday and the holiday shopping season as an opportunity to forge meaningful loyalty in their customer base.  But where do you start?  How can a retailer define a path to a great shopping experience?

Customer experience management programs can help.  These programs focus on putting in to action the insights gathered through customer feedback that helps create great holiday memories for customers.

Four steps to building a better holiday experience are:

  1. Identify the key touch points in the customer journey. From the very beginning of a customer visit, starting from the outside looking in (the view from a parking lot, the street, or mall) all the way through to the end point of what is experienced as a customer leaves, you need a deep understanding of the important cues in the environment that build a great customer experience. A facility’s visual layout, the product and its positioning, the signage and the experience touch points with people – all these can act as key moments in the journey a customer takes.
  2. Orchestrate a memorable and unique retail brand experience. The customer feedback and insights from customer journey maps can be used to derive store level action plans. Using the power of science can help to focus your teams on improving the areas of the customer experience that will have the highest impact.
  3. Build an emotional connection and build a real community with your customers, employees and your brand. With the right insights and the right action plan you can get inside the minds of your customers to understand – and predict – what makes them choose you. The result can be a holistic and highly-predictive model of what drives customer loyalty for your business, building an emotional connection between you and your customers.
  4. Go beyond satisfaction and drive brand advocacy. It’s no secret that consumers trust the word of their friends, family and coworkers over any marketing campaigns you might implement – no matter how compelling or creative those campaigns are. Amplify great in-store experiences through your advocates. Turn your best advocates into a powerful marketing engine for your brand by encouraging them to share their stories through their social media networks.

Holidays are a great opportunity to attract and engage with customers. Building memorable experiences for your customers can be the key to creating an emotional connection to your brand.

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