Christmas E-commerce: Start With the Customer recently published Christmas e-commerce tips from several industry experts, including Seb Dreyfus, Managing Director of Rosetta Europe. The original piece can be found here.

Christmas is a unique time of year: people are buying many different products in a condensed period of time and through multiple channels. The festive season can attribute 20%-40% of a retailer’s annual revenue, so it’s critical to get it right. According to research conducted by mobile commerce firm Weve in 2013, 88% of smartphone owners use their mobile phones as part of their shopping experience, with 70% using the web to search for presents. Put those two together and you can see why there is the desire for a seamless experience from online to mobile to in-store.

The starting point should always be the customer. Retailers should thoroughly understand what their customers’ needs and desires are across the entire purchase cycle to ensure that when they set foot in the store, their experience exceeds expectations. After that, retailers must understand what technological capabilities they have to address these needs and implement appropriately – for example, by using click-and-collect or accepting Apple Pay. Finally, where possible, retailers must develop highly customised and personal experiences that are innovative and relevant.

In three steps:

• Learn as you go: monitor performance of sales and staff. Become an always-on operation so you can better serve your customers’ needs and adapt to any issues or changes in real time.

• Breaking down the barriers: understand how you can improve the customer journey from online research and “browse to purchase” analysis. Look for ways to facilitate and enable customers to buy your products in the way they want.

• Maximise social: reward desired behaviours, such as recommending a purchase online, not only transactions when engaging your customers.

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