How will Christmas shopping be different this year?

Convenience, safety and speed are front of mind for customers going into the holiday season. Moving to e-commerce methods and providing delivery has been a salvation for many local businesses in Australia this year. 

Australian retailers have adapted quickly throughout the year to ensure they can still operate during COVID-19. Lindsay Carroll, the Acting CEO of the National Retail Association said that this has significantly changed the Australian retail landscape. 

“There are virtually no aspects of the [retail] industry which have been left untouched, from stores to the supply chains,” she said.

Retailers have adapted to the change, finding new ways to provide fulfillment options and deliver goods safely, at scale. 

Whether customers are shopping in-store, engaging with click-and-collect options or having goods delivered, there’s an opportunity for businesses to optimise their operations. 

Here are three opportunities that retailers have this holiday season to improve customer experience and reduce operational costs. 

Improve the customers checkout experience

Did you know on average 80% of shoppers abandon their online carts before making a purchase? With approximately one in four shoppers moving online to purchase a good during lockdown that they would normally purchase in-store, it’s crucial businesses nail their customers checkout experience. 

Reducing the time it takes for a customer to check out is the first step to reducing friction in the checkout process. According to the Baymard Institute, the third highest reason for abandoning a shopping cart is a “long and complicated checkout process”. 

Using the Google Places Autocomplete feature, customers can input the first few characters of their shipping or billing address before the “type-ahead” function is prompted to draw on details of approximately 100 million places and provide a drop-down selection of the predicted addresses.

This feature not only saves the customer time in the check out process, but also validates the address, saving time on cleaning system data and reducing shipping errors which can cause delayed package delivery times and customer dissatisfaction. 

Meet customer demand

As customers, we can be guilty of running to the store to make last minute purchases in the lead up to Christmas. On the flipside, we sometimes just jump online to escape the Boxing Day sales in-store madness. There are two key areas where a retailer can prepare for the increase in demand this holiday season; scaling their website and optimising click and collect.

scale your website

Hosting an e-Commerce website on Cloud technology, such as the Google Cloud Platform, can help a retailer meet customer demands on peak shopping days. 

Approximately 91% of shoppers will leave a website if it’s too slow. Retailers need to have the ability to scale up and pay for their website’s processing power during peak shopping periods and then scale this processing power back during lighter shopping periods. 

Google Cloud Platform ensures retailers are only paying for what they need at the time, not what they anticipate over a year.

Click and collect

There has been a growing trend in customers wanting to order online and navigate to their closest store as quickly as possible. Forbes reported a 195% increase in buy online & pick up in-store purchases in May 2020 alone. 

During the click and collect process, it’s important to have a store locator at the customers fingertips. Using Google’s Dynamic Maps API, the customer can toggle, zoom and pan on a map to find their nearest store for pick up, saving the customer time and boosting customer retention. 

Meet delivery demands 

The pandemic has made it apparent that delivery is essential for businesses to continue operating. As doorstep delivery continues to become normalised and delivery demand increases in the lead up to Christmas, retailers (and Santa) need to ensure they have the correct measures in place to meet delivery demand within expected delivery windows.

Pairing the address validation from the aforementioned Google’s Places Autocomplete functionality with Google’s Directions Advanced SKU (using Google’s real-time traffic data), provides delivery drivers with the fastest route to the customers validated address. 

 

How can Liveli help you optimise your retail operations?

We understand that retailers have already faced a range of new and potentially long-lasting changes to the Australian retail landscape. At Liveli, we have a team that’s ready to help support your business across the Google Maps Platform and Google Cloud Platform, tailored to your business needs. Reach out to the Liveli team if you’d like to have a chat.

 

About the author: Jaimee Nobbs

Jaimee is former Marketing Coordinator at the NGIS Group.

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