It’s approaching fast – the busiest time of the year for retailers. It seems that holiday items begin appearing in store windows earlier and earlier each fall, and a recent survey by Googlereports that 48% of consumers completed the majority of their 2014 shopping prior to Cyber Monday.

So what’s the key takeaway from all this for retailers? If you want to tap into the “early shopper market,” you should already be turning your focus towards providing shoppers with the best holiday customer experience – before and after Cyber Monday.

And based on customer feedback provided in research conducted by CTS, 46% of consumers reported that a negative shopping experience left them unwilling to return to a store after the holidays – which means it is essential that your brand take action to relieve customer frustration before it sets in.

So how do you go about providing your shoppers with a great holiday customer experience? We’ve listed some of the common customer frustrations below, as well as some tips and techniques for relieving customer stress and keeping the happy in your holidays.

1 Sold out items. These days, savvy customers do their research – and it can be incredibly frustrating to put in a great deal of time and effort only to discover that a desired item is sold out. Retailers who wish to offer a cutthroat deal should structure their promotions carefully to ensure they can meet customer demand.

If the item or discount is offered for a limited time only – be very clear about the details. If you choose to offer a limited-quantity item and expect it to sell out, plan on having an alternative available to those who miss the initial offering. Doing so will help keep as many customers satisfied as possible.

2 Long lines. Crowded stores and long lines can add an undesirable intensity to your holiday customer experience – so make sure you are staffing your brick-and-mortar stores with enough cashiers to handle the increase in seasonal traffic. Extended shopping hours and VIP events are also tried-and-true methods for relieving store crowding.

You may also reduce in-store traffic by pushing your online promotions and encouraging digital purchase, or by leveraging mobile technology to offer your customers the opportunity to streamline the purchasing process.

3 Website frustrations. Many consumers reported abandoning their online purchases due to a slow or cumbersome website, so don’t forget to beef up your connectivity during the holiday shopping season in anticipation of increased web traffic.


4 Lack of assistance. 62% of consumers reported leaving a store because they were not assisted in a timely fashion – which makes it clear that the retail industry as a whole has some serious room for improvement in customer service. If your brand prides itself on a personal touch, be sure to increase the number of floor staff available to help your customers find what they’re looking for.

Interactive digital displays and mobile technology can also be outstanding tools for providing customers with much-needed assistance during their holiday shopping journey – adding value and convenience to their shopping experience, and helping you secure the sale.

Christmas Holidays

5 Unhappy employees. Your retail associates are your brand’s first point of contact – so make sure they are genuinely committed to providing the best holiday customer experience possible.

Providing your holiday staff with extra training and support can go a long way towards ensuring a positive experience for everyone involved. Your employees should be well-compensated when working holiday hours – and they should understand that their ability to maintain a courteous and helpful attitude when dealing with stressed-out holiday shoppers is absolutely essential.

By paying close attention to these common frustrations, you’ll promote the most positive holiday shopping experience possible – while ensuring lasting customer loyalty that carries over throughout the new year.

For more ideas on how to boost revenues, improve your customer experience, and ensure repeat business for years to come – contact the marketing experts at Mood Media, today! We’ll help you set the right mood, from the start.