On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer, on Vixen . . . on FedEx, on UPS, on DHL, on USPS?

There is no online equivalent to walking out of the store just after the moment of purchase, carrying a loved one’s holiday gift. This year, Deloitte foresees US brick-and-mortar sales increasing year over year between just 1% and 1.5%. By contrast, online shopping continues to gain momentum: This summer, 40% of US online adults said they were buying more things online than they normally do as a result of the pandemic, while 42% said they were shopping more at online-only stores. Another 42% of US online adults said they would not return to shopping in stores once stay-at-home-restrictions are lifted. So as the shift to online shopping accelerates, that moment of instant gratification will be missing for customers this holiday season.

Good news: This loss is a big opportunity for online retailers to deliver on a valuable post-purchase customer experience, and there’s ample room to deliver. Over one-quarter of US online adults agreed that they have been frustrated with online shopping during the pandemic.

In my new research, “Retailers: Capitalize On Your Order Status Alerts To Thrill Customers And Gain Key Insights,” I’ve identified six substages of the customer lifecycle that occur during the “buy” stage — that is, between the moment the customer clicks to confirm their order and when they receive their package. This holiday season, win over your online customers by masterfully:

  • Prioritizing expectations management. Even before your customer places their order, give them an estimated delivery date, keep them up to date on any delays, and prepare them to receive their order with notifications as the delivery approaches. Customers value information and don’t want to add to the preexisting holiday stress.
  • Celebrating your customer’s new purchase. The holidays are inherently celebratory, so use this as an excuse to boost your customers’ excitement over their impending delivery. Create an emotional connection with your brand as you reinforce that great decision to buy with you and offer helpful information on what they can expect next.
  • Adding value to the purchase. By personalizing the messaging, suggesting similar or complementary products, or offering relevant materials such as assembly instructions for furniture and toy purchases, you are providing an experience that extends beyond a product purchase and into a valuable relationship.

To find out more about how you can optimize your post-purchase experience for the holiday season, please read the report, register for our webinar playback (titled Retailers: Optimize Your Post-Purchase Experience To Delight And Win Customers), or schedule an inquiry with me here.


(written with Brandon Shaik, research associate)