BFCM Data Helps Retailers Prepare for Holiday Shopping Chaos
Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) is fast approaching, and retail/e-commerce brands are anxiously planning for what's sure to be another record-breaking year.
Ada, a brand interaction platform, automated over 1.5 billion customer interactions last year and has drawn insights to help retailers gear up for the shopping season. Below are the top takeaways from Ada’s research.
Don’t Fall Into the WISMO Trap
We all know that “where is my order?” (WISMO) inquiries are a sunk cost for any brand.
Ada found that WISMO makes up between 32 percent to 39 percent of customer inquiries depending on the time of year. There are two points to consider here:
- Imagine how much value a customer experience team could offer the business if agents had 40 percent more time back. Brands that have avoided automation in the past shouldn’t hold back anymore. Over half of shoppers say they want a chatbot to provide support. Plus, it’s now table stakes for any conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform to provide customers with real-time WISMO support. This is a quick win for any customer experience team.
- Customers need a lot more from a brand than WISMO help. During the week of Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM), a quarter of customer inquiries are about selecting the right product and completing an order — i.e., revenue. If a support team is spending time answering WISMO questions, then they're being held back from generating revenue, increasing customer lifetime value (CLTV), and growing the brand. Plus, think of how many more valuable conversations a brand could have with customers if they used conversational AI for revenue-generating inquiries, too.
It’s a Season for a Reason
It’s documented that the busy season has grown longer, with shoppers beginning their holiday haul as early as August.
Ada discovered the nature of customer questions changes throughout the holiday season.
- Weeks leading up to US Thanksgiving: customers are most frequently asking about WISMO and completing an order.
- BFCM week: WISMO takes a back seat, as customers are much more likely to ask pre-sales questions about product selection as well as policies related to returns, cancellations and exchanges.
- Boxing Week: most customer inquiries are about (surprise, surprise!) WISMO, exchanges and refund policies.
Brands should plan their training accordingly, and adapt to changing customer needs throughout the season. Consider implementing a brand interaction platform that automatically adjusts to customer needs, and preserve human agents for more complex, revenue-oriented interactions.
Retail/E-Commerce is Now Part of the On-Demand Economy
Email and phone channels are dying out as methods of customer communication because they're slow and inconvenient. Consumers have increasingly taken to mobile experiences to interact with friends and family, and now expect brands to be equally available on-demand in popular messaging channels like Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and Whatsapp.
Messaging is good for business. Over two-thirds of U.S. consumers say that being able to message a business helps them feel more confident in a brand, and website visitors who connect with a brand through chat are nearly 3x more likely to convert.
The most powerful customer interactions are those that are both personalized and proactive. Ada’s research found that customers are 2.5x more likely to engage in messaging when the brand initiates a conversation, and average order value is 60 percent higher when customers chat with a brand before purchasing.
Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to represent the brand, establish rapport, and earn new business. Industry leaders today should be seeking scalable ways to have more interactions with customers across their journey, and empower customer experience teams to go beyond reactive support and become proactive, personalized brand ambassadors.
Perri Chaikof is director of product marketing at Ada, a CX automation company.
Related story: The Real Deal About Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Perri Chaikof is the Director of Product Marketing at Ada, having joined as one of the first 20 hires and grown with the company from pre-series A to unicorn status. Described by her peers as Swiss Army knife, Perri’s has a proven track record in software sales, Voice of Customer advocacy, and team leadership. Perri is an innate problem solver and embraces new challenges - whether it be a business case, crossword, or sudoku puzzle.