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New research has revealed an opportunity for retailers to grow their business and create long-term relationships with customers over the Christmas season.

Source: Canva.

Customer loyalty the key to successful Christmas sales, new research finds

New research has revealed an opportunity for retailers to grow their business and create long-term relationships with customers over the Christmas season.

The national survey conducted by Zendesk of 1,000 respondents found that a positive customer experience with a retailer during the festive season will yield long-term customer loyalty (41 per cent) and impact customers’ desire to buy more items from a retailer (34 per cent).

While Australians plan to shop with brick-and-mortar retailers and online retailers equally, a positive customer experience is the difference between a one-off shop and repeat purchases.

Due to this year’s impact of the coronavirus, retailers are now more than ever looking to increase sales over the Christmas period, and one of the most important way to do so is by increasing customer loyalty.

“This year’s peak season offers an opportunity for retailers to win over customers with exceptional customer experience and in turn, help grow their business and nurture long-term customer loyalty,” said the Managing Director of Zendesk Australia and New Zealand Amy Foo.

“From our recent research, we found that customers look to retailers for a positive customer experience, with almost a third noting customer service is even more important this time of the year than any other periods given the stress caused by the pandemic and the Christmas rush.”

The survey showed that retailers have a unique opportunity to increase purchases from customers following the 2020 Federal Budget announcement, where all respondents polled plan to at least spend their tax relief.

More than a third of the survey respondents plan to take advantage of the government’s recently introduced one-off tax relief this year by spending with retailers. Top on their shopping lists includes buying presents for others, food and beverage items, and clothing.

The research also showed that to stand out amongst a crowded marketplace of retailers, customer experience is key. More than 40 per cent of those surveyed said the customer experience provided by a retailer is a key factor in their decision to spend, and more than one in two feel loyal to a retailer if they are met with quality customer service.

Failing to provide a positive experience this Christmas season may have long-term impacts on retailers’ relationships with customers. Almost half of Australians would switch to a competitor after just one bad experience with a retailer.

When it comes to what a ‘positive’ customer experience involves, respondents identified easy to find contact information , a prompt resolution to an online inquiry and helpful search results as the top factors.

The platforms available for customers to reach out to retailers and resolve issues are also important. 20 per cent expect being able to seamlessly interact with a retailer across multiple channels including messaging apps as part of customer service, with 17 per cent saying they expect to resolve issues with a retailer over social messaging apps this peak season.

“Consumers want to resolve issues with retailers in the easiest way possible. For a growing number of Australians, this means contacting retailers on the platforms they are already using to speak to family and friends, such as WhatsApp, Instagram messaging, and Facebook Messenger,” said Ms Foo.

“Retailers need to ensure the customer support solutions and strategy they have in place are set up to manage an increase in inquiries over these channels this peak season.”

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Ellie Dudley

Ellie Dudley

Ellie Dudley is a journalist at Dynamic Business with a background in the startup space and current affairs reporting. She has a specific interest in foreign investment and the Australian economy.

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