Despite e-commerce being touted as a genuine threat for bricks and mortar retailers, Credico UK has revealed why in the run-up to Christmas, having an in-person presence on the highstreets will be more vital to retail growth than before.
The Centre for Retail Research has stated that Christmas spending online is expected to be up 11.8 percent on last year, making it a key driver for retail growth. However, field marketing agency Credico UK believes that understanding the performance of sales and marketing avenues at this critical time of year is not so cut and dry, and is confident that face to face customer service will still lead the way over the holiday season.
The agency is keen to address that the success of e-commerce requires far more than an adequate online sales process, as consumer needs are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Before committing to a purchase, the average customer is now taking more time to research brands and their products, and reaching out through email and social media for support. However, this online support has been failing to reach expectations of late. The recent Eptica Multichannel Customer Conversation Study found that UK brands are struggling to cope with the volume of online customer queries, with the 100 companies surveyed only managing to answer 44% of the routine questions asked on the web, and through email, Twitter and Facebook.
This lack of customer outreach is sure to have a significant impact on e-commerce over the Christmas period, and as such Credico UK is suggesting brands bolster their customer service efforts by investing in face to face, personalised customer service. ‘Interacting in-person, with a knowledgeable brand advisor, offers customers real-time answers to their queries, and instantly builds the confidence and trust needed to move forward with a purchase’ Outlines Credico UK. ‘while online shopping is convenient, as we move closer to Christmas, more people will be hitting the highstreets, and this is an opportunity to connect with consumers that brands can’t afford to miss.’
Credico UK believes that brands can sometimes overlook the value of human contact. A 2017 Retail Trends Report by InMoment reveals that despite the apparent rise in online shopping, when shopping in-store, one in three consumers return to a store solely because of a previous positive experience. Furthermore, 54 percent state interacting with staff who are knowledgeable and recognise personal needs and past purchasing patterns dramatically improves the customer experience.
With this in mind, Credico UK believes the highstreets will remain integral to retail growth over the last few weeks of 2017. The agency is certain retailers that recognise and understand the true value of human interaction will see the most success over the Christmas period and will be positively positioned moving into the New Year.