In 2017, £1.4billion was spent on online sales in the UK on Black Friday which was up by 11.7 percent from 2016 according to the online retailers’ trade body IMRG.
Retailers prepare for months in advance for the onslaught of the sales and online activity, ensuring that they have the correct offers in place at the right price and that their servers and technology can take the volume of increased traffic. However, it is not just about the technology, it’s about the customers’ end to end journey ensuring that it is as seamless and easy as possible for the customer from the outset.
Robust and reliant infrastructure
Retailers must ensure their infrastructure is robust and reliant to withstand the high volume of traffic that it will experience during this busy period. They cannot risk having servers that fail and web pages that take too long to load. By hosting their voice and data in a cloud solution they will benefit from resiliency.
A resilient phone system and contact centre with automatic failover leaves customers unaware of any technical glitches as the system seamlessly transfers across to its resilient location. Hosting a solution in the cloud means their infrastructure is more agile, so they’re able to scale up or down depending upon requirements.
Augmenting Service with Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Processing Automation (RPA)
Basket abandonment concerns are heightened during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Retailers do not want to miss out on capitalising on potential high volume sales. They need to offer seamless self-service on their websites and integrate it into their contact centre, making the process easy, intuitive and consistent for customers.
A staggering 61 percent of customers abandon their order at check out because of website errors, 60 percent because they have to create an account, and 46 percent because there is a long and complex checkout (Namagoo 2018).
New disruptive technologies such as AI, RPA and Web Real Time Communications can assist contact centre agents and enable self-service websites to offer a more seamless and enjoyable experience for the customer. For example, a customer may be looking for a product and they can use conversational AI, or digital agent to guide them to the specific product or information that they are looking for.
If the digital agent can’t answer the question, they will be put through to a human agent who can provide the answer with a personal approach, having received a summary of the interaction from the digital agent. Reducing any frustration and making the process smooth and efficient.
Not just about the sale
Retailers need to be aware that it is not just about the sale of the product but the overall customer journey. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday millions of products will be ordered but also millions returned so it is essential that the retailer provides an easy to use and seamless returns process to retain their brand image and customer loyalty. Technology such as AI and RPA can assist by engaging early with the customer, automating and simplifying the returns process.
An end-to-end journey
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the moments of truth in proving a retailer’s customer experience and the end to end journey the customer has to take from the: promotion, enquiries about the product, ordering, payment, delivery and returns process.
To protect their brand image, create advocates and loyal customers of the brand retailers need to make customer experience their number one objective. Utilising the right technology to elevate customer experience is imperative in the age of digital transformation.