Three tips from Flexigroup.

With Christmas gift season well and truly underway, it’s time for retailers to take a long hard look at how they can improve things for their customers, according to Flexigroup chief revenue officer, Libby Minogue.

“Many consumers consider Christmas to be one of the most stressful shopping experiences in the calendar,” she told Appliance Retailer.

“In fact, a biometric study conducted by eBay suggested that shopping for seasonal gifts can increase your heart rate by 32%, a similar increase to that experienced from running a marathon. But it doesn’t have to be this way.”

There are many things retailers can do to vastly improve their customers’ online and offline shopping experience to improve customers’ overall physical and mental health, as well as provide an impressive boost to the bottom line, according to Minogue.

Be accessible

“The worst thing retailers can do is make it impossible for customers to shop at your store. If you’re an online store, this means perfecting your delivery processes to make them as fast as possible – so customers can get their orders delivered well before December 24th.

“Offering next day delivery is a fantastic way to show customers that you’re doing everything you possibly can to minimise the added complexities of online ordering.

“If you’re a bricks and mortar store, this will mean extending your store hours, so 9-5 workers have a chance to make it to your store before it closes. At this time of year, it’s almost always worth keeping your store open for those extra few hours.

“Make sure your stock is up to date and be quick to notice when you are running low on popular products. And avoid disappointment by making sure your online store only lists products that you have sufficient quantities for – remember, you want to make a sale and you want them to come back again.”

Make paying a breeze

“Christmas can be a financially stressful time for customers. Pre-order services can be a great way for customers to keep track of their spending and avoid a nasty surprise when it comes time to pay.

“Buy Now, Pay Later services are another incredibly popular way to help customers afford their holiday gifts. For retailers it is a real value-add to customers that makes it easy for them to get the bulk of their Christmas shopping done all at once while spreading the payment slices out over time.

“Some services have different offers depending on how expensive the item being purchased is. For example, humm has a BNPL option for purchases up to $2,000 and another BNPL option for purchases greater than $2,000, up to $30,000.

“Make sure your checkout process flows smoothly – whether it’s online or offline. If you’re a bricks and mortar retailer, ensure you’ve got enough staff assisting with sales to leave customers with a good impression. After all, there’s nothing worse than a long checkout line to add to the stress of Christmas shopping.”

Play to your strengths

“Leverage all your marketing channels; social media, your website, catalogues, gift guides, advertisements, mailing lists, and more. Ensure your store’s marketing communicates the benefits of shopping at your store. For example, are you a physical-only store? Then promote the benefits of zero shipping times and the ability to see your products before you buy.

“Physical stores also provide the added benefit of in-store displays and activations, which can help your customers find the perfect gifts – which can often be items they wouldn’t even have thought of before entering the store.

“Grouping complementary products together makes multiple purchases easy. For example, try putting the accessories that go with an appliance all together on display, to provide your customer with everything they need for Christmas entertaining).

“If you’re an online store, make the most of your site’s categorisation options by grouping gift selections by age, gender or interest. This allows your customers to find their gifts faster, resulting in quicker sales and happy customers. It’s a win-win.”