Following the ecommerce expo in London last month, Reputation VIP decided to work on the retail industry’s online reputation in the run up to Christmas. Why is the ecommerce online reputation becoming essential for the industry ?
Although Christmas carols are not yet on the radio and decorations are still in our attic, ecommerce’s are already getting geared up for their busiest time of the year. With one preoccupation: having an ideal online reputation. Following the IFOP and Reputation VIP survey in March 2015, concerning the influence of online reputation on purchasing, 96% of internet users are influenced by brand’s online reputation when buying a product. When online traffic increases considerably, this factor is crucial at this time of the year.
For online retailers, preparation rhymes with anticipation
The Christmas period is particularly strategic for the online retailers who are already standing ready. Sellers, management teams, retailers and suppliers are seeking to ensure success and profit. Stocks, logistics, infrastructure, development strategies, customer relations… everything is gone over with a fine tooth-comb to face the spike of the holiday period. This is the most important time of the year for these businesses as the revenues and the traffic accomplished during this period is more and more impressing.
The online retailer’s results should not slowdown at the end of 2015
Christmas 2014 was already a success for the e-retailers and 2015 looks extremely promising. According to the Yodel report, Yodel Survey Reveals a Third of Brits have started Christmas Shopping Already, 76% of British consumers buy half of their Christmas presents online. Just 3% say they will get everything in-store.
Purchases are also going to be influenced by internet user’s mobility, with the development of 4G, the importance of mobile friendly websites and the introduction of the new generation of large screens, buyers are now able to purchase their goods from wherever they are.
Ecommerce online reputation: the need of a set strategy for Xmas 2015
Today, what is the best online reputation management strategy for Christmas 2015? Reviews, price policies, aftersales services, last minute deliveries, delivery conditions, customer relations on social media… different factors need to be taken into consideration by the ecommerce sites in order to build a solid online reputation.
Why not try to value positive comments by posting them on social media? Capitalising on customer ambassadors could be a strategic opportunity to develop internet user’s trust. It is also essential to respond rapidly to negative comments, errors or delays. Listening and taking into account negative reviews also allows to improve service.
Anticipating last minute purchases, developing excellent aftersales services or even offering personalised presents and messages allow retailers to stand out in this crowed market.
It is also essential to reassure buyers about the delivery times. If you own high street stores, why not offer in-store deliveries? Speed of service and speed of response are essential for customer satisfaction. Customer’s tolerance towards time is decreasing so organisations need to improve and innovate to keep up with customer expectations.
To facilitate their work online, retailers can also use the Reputation VIP’s dashboard. Why? To monitor, improve and protect the company’s Google first page and avoid getting unpleasant surprises.
Christmas 2015: the online reputation challenges for online traders
Challenges are high. For Christmas to be as magical as it should be, before starting their Christmas shopping, internet users compare products and prices on specific sites such as moneysavingexpert.com or on marketplaces like Amazon.
So to remain competitive, retailers should take certain figures into consideration:
- 31% of internet users cite online recommendations from personal relations and 29% of user reviews as important as information sources.
- 75% if internet users read online reviews.
- 51% of internet users say having concerns about what is on internet, hence there is a need to reassure potential buyers.
The 3 month Christmas period represents 50% of the yearly sales
Ecommerce retailers have plenty of work ahead to face the online reputation challenges this Christmas. Last year their hard work paid off in terms of sales but not concerning customer satisfaction. In July 2015, the UKCSI revealed a decline in customer satisfaction at a national level, as customers demand greater confidence, speed and value. According to Jo Causon, CEO of Institute of Customer Service, “What does this all mean? What does this mean for UK PLC? Number one, customer satisfaction as a measure has never been more important. We know through our resource that there is direct correlation between customer satisfaction and the overall performance of an organisation over a period of time. Secondly, customer expectations have increased and will continue to increase. […] Thirdly, the actual product and service quality experience. Fourthly, if there is a problem, how well do we deal with that problem? And then fifthly around timeliness.”
Hence, online reputation and customer satisfaction should be at the heart of ecommerce’s strategy, as they have become a key element of differentiation and customer attraction.
According to the Centre of Retail Research, many retailers made more the half of the sales and profits in three months prior to Christmas. Online retail accounted 23.4% of Christmas spending in 2014 and sales rose to £17.37bn.
Finally, online retail represents an estimated 24% of the total retail market and it should grow by 12% this year. E-retailers need to be prepared from October as 18% of the people say they will start their Christmas shopping.
Merry Christmas !