Leverage Free Shipping and Customer Service to Maximize Online Revenues This Holiday Season
* Use conditional free shipping. Merchants can limit their offers to certain subsets of their customer bases, as well as require customers to meet certain conditions such as spending a specified dollar amount, buying from a limited selection of products or purchasing within a certain time frame.
For example, a multichannel retailer recently sent a segmented email only to its loyal customers. The subject line read: “We appreciate You! Free Shipping on Over 3,000 Customer Picks - 2 days only.” The promotion leveraged high-converting, top-rated products with free shipping tied just to those products and only available for a limited period of time. By marrying these three conditions of customer segment, product selection and time frame, the merchant was able to drive sales without breaking the bank.
Deliver Great Customer Service
The second key finding of the survey is that it’s not only about discounts this year. Consumers indicated that they're willing to pay full price for the right product if it's in stock and supported by excellent customer service. Not only is excellent customer service critical to strong conversion, it greatly impacts long-term customer loyalty. Consumers typically remember bad customer service experiences much longer than special offers or sale prices.
One of my pet peeves is not being able to find a phone contact easily. A majority of retailers have toll-free customer service numbers listed on their sites. However, many don’t prominently display the number or make it readily accessible throughout the shopping experience. Positioning the number as part of your global navigation adds convenience, fosters trust and creates a proclivity to purchase.
Other customer service essentials that drive confidence and satisfaction include:
- multiple contact options, including phone, chat or email with hours of service listed;
- elevating frequently used customer service links — satisfaction guarantees, return policy, security and privacy policies, shipping fees, and delivery deadlines;
- providing “in stock” status of products tied to order deadlines and product availability; and
- self-service options, including order status and tracking, and product FAQs.
By implementing conditional free shipping strategies and delivering great customer service, retailers will be able to secure a more profitable holiday season this year.