Halloween is a time of opportunity, and this year sales are expected to spike for retailers around the world. While kids are excited to gorge on trick-or-treat snacks, parents are also looking to dress up and have fun with family and friends. This means there’s a great opportunity for retailers to join the fun and deliver a thrilling experience through timely and relevant communication.
As sales are expected to reach $10.6 billion this year, holiday participation officially returns to the pre-pandemic levels. Read on to learn more about how consumers are spending their money this Halloween and a few strategies to help you deliver a thrilling customer experience to maximize your sales.
Consumer shopping habits
In the last year, retailers witnessed a significant rise in Halloween sales as more people participated and purchased various seasonal products post the pandemic. However, this year sales are expected to rise even higher and reach a record $10.6 billion, exceeding last year’s $10.1 billion, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual Halloween Consumer survey.
More than 69% of consumers plan to celebrate the holiday this year. But how exactly are consumers celebrating and spending their money? The top ways consumers plan to celebrate include:
- 67% on candy
- 51% on home or yard decorations
- 47% on costumes
- 44% on pumpkin carving
- 28% on private parties
While total spending on costumes, decorations, and candy is expected to spike this year, costumes will account for the biggest area of Halloween purchases. Consumers are expected to spend a total of $2.9 billion on kids’ and adult costumes and another $710 million on pet costumes.
So retailers, are you ready to deliver a thrilling customer experience? Here’s how you can get started!
The shift in CX has no boundaries
We all love a good score on feedback, especially at this time of year. With the pandemic accelerating the shift from physical to digital, customer experience transcends new boundaries. This includes the latest omnichannel trend, which has made the online versus in-store shopping argument irrelevant.
Customers are more demanding than ever and want to shop on their terms. They will no longer compare you directly with competitors but compare your service to a recent pleasant experience they’ve encountered. So even if you’re in retail, your customer service is possibly being compared to other experiences at hotels or restaurants, for example.
The bottom line is that customers now have the power. Whether they’re shopping for your brand online, in-store, curbside pickup, through your apps, or on social media, they are more in control and more up-to-date on conducting business with you.
Therefore, you need to be prepared because, unlike Halloween revelers, customers won’t appreciate scary surprises. Adopting an omnichannel communication strategy with different channels ensures that you adapt to customers’ preferences while staying connected to them.
You won’t have to rely strictly on emails this Halloween. Instead, you can use different channels such as WhatsApp Business, Messenger, SMS, Instagram Business, and Live Chat while guaranteeing to keep customers engaged at different touchpoints. It all boils down to being available for your customers around the clock and, most importantly, over the channels of their choice.
Introduce automation and self-service options for 24/7 support
Take a step back and put yourself in your customer’s shoes; what would you look for to ensure a frictionless shopping journey? For most customers today, the top 3 elements of efficient customer service are quick resolutions, knowledgeable service agents, and fast responses.
While having proper cloud contact center technology is very important, it’s also critical to have automation in place to help your agents with their workloads. The easiest way to eliminate friction is to introduce self-service options through a chatbot that can easily integrate with a cloud contact center to create a connected customer journey and deliver an exceptional experience.
You can set up a rule-based chatbot to:
- Automate your customer service and reduce operational costs
- Improve customer and agent experiences
- Provide 24/7 support to handle more queries
- Offload frequently asked questions from your agents
Using chatbots helps improve your overall contact center metrics and gives customers the quick response they expect and a shorter time to resolution.
Ensure collaboration and scrap the scary silos
Although using chatbots has several benefits for the retail industry, it can also be a source of customer frustration if not implemented properly. In the highly competitive context of Halloween shopping, upsetting customers can push them to shop with a competitor.
Integrating your chatbot with a cloud contact center solution guarantees that the information collected previously is seamlessly transferred and conversations are routed to the right agent based on the customer’s intent.
Given that 60% of shoppers expect a flawless, connected customer experience, it’s clear then that scrapping the silos is absolutely critical. This is why having this data in one location enables your agents to easily create detailed and accurate customer profiles and deliver truly personalized and impeccable support.
Utilize data to treat customers like individuals, not zombies
Like any other holiday, Halloween encourages people to turn to social media for inspiration and sharing special moments. In fact, online channels have the highest rate of inspiration sources compared to other offline sources.
This is an excellent opportunity for retailers to ensure their customer engagement strategy is personalized and data-driven. Analyzing data properly will give you a better understanding of your customers’ behaviors and preferences. In turn, you’ll be able to craft personalized messages and treat customers as individuals. Data can also help you reach new audiences, deepen existing relationships and drive more sales.
Investing in these solutions will help you gather information about your audience, store the data in one place and help you transform them into detailed customer profiles. This, in turn, helps businesses leverage end-to-end customer data to gain real-time insights into behavior, product usage, and channel preferences – resulting in more robust customer profiles and hyper-personalization.
Make a lasting impression for the sweet journeys ahead
Digitalization doesn’t mean you’ll be able to sell clown costumes at a discount the day after Halloween. But you are far more likely to make wickedly good profits in the long run. Listen to your customers and make them feel valued . If you believe there are a lot of fish in the pond, consider all the other fishermen that are looking at it. After all, shopping season is around the corner so make sure your customer experience is full of treats, not tricks.
Omnichannel future-proofs your CX