Why An Emotional Connection Will Be Key In This Holiday Season’s Sales Success

Holiday Season Emotional Purchase Behavior

For well over a year, retailers have been dealing with the pandemic’s impact on sales and it looks like the marketplace is set to face yet another challenging holiday shopping season in 2021. Manufacturing and supply chain disruptions continue to wreak havoc on the ability to keep inventory reliably in stock. Safety protocols continue to inhibit customers from making in-store visits. And a labor shortage leaves shops scrambling when it comes to servicing consumers who do cross the transom. None of this is merry or bright news for holiday season sales prospects.

Despite the gloomy forecast, there have been several improvements to the retail shopping experience. Most consumers have enjoyed pandemic-born amenities such as curbside pick-up, contactless payments, and same-day delivery. These features work well because customers respond positively to them. When a retailer is willing to implement changes and work with consumers to make the uncertain retail experience better and more manageable, everybody wins. In this selling environment, that type of flexibility suggests that it’s consumer empathy, not necessarily the lowest prices, that may ultimately land a retail sale.

Customer empathy is nothing new. In fact, 80 percent of consumers base their retail purchase decisions on emotions.

Deloitte, Exporing the value of emotion-driven engagement

How they feel about the product or service, how it is being presented to them, and their feelings towards the retailer offering it. Making connections with customers has always been an important ingredient in sales, but during especially challenging times like these, empathy and forging positive emotional connections with customers may give your shop the competitive edge it needs.

We’ve already seen next-gen empathy enter the mix with the emergence of online chatbots, recommendation lists, and virtual shopping assistants. Artificial intelligence and the automation of repetitive customer-service functions have improved the online experience for sure, but their scope of effectiveness is generally limited to common, easy-to-address, issues. Their ability to prompt and close sales have been only marginal. It seems chatbots are great at reading scripts but don’t yet possess the authentic persona that would make them more relatable – on an emotional level, at least.

That said, one area where empathy seems to be working well is in live commerce, a shopping experience where the product knowledge and friendliness of the traditional sales associate meet the convenience of online shopping. The company I founded, GetBEE, empowers brands to provide ecommerce site visitors with live, social, shopping concierge services – with an actual brand expert. And, because of this humanized interaction, we’re seeing brands experience an average 25% sales conversion rate. That’s incredibly effective when compared with the typical 1 and 2% rates being realized on most e-commerce sites.

While one-click shopping and self-checkout kiosks offer the convenience of automation, consumers still miss the advice and counsel that comes with a knowledgeable sales associate. That human touch has been missing from the online shopping experience, but thanks to 5G and expanded bandwidth, it’s now possible to conduct live video consultations on a customer’s mobile device and walk them through product features.

These on-call, online sales associates are building emotional connections with online shoppers. They’re converting prospects into sales and even employing strong upsell tactics. More than strictly product or pricing, it is one-on-one engagement that many customers find is the new value-add to their shopping experience. This begs the question, if your competitor is able to offer this type of emotional sales journey, are they likely to pick off a number of your customers this holiday season?

GetBEE Assisted Shopping Experiences

‘Tis the season to humanize the shopping experience for your customers. Comfort and emotions are a major part of sales success, overshadowing previous mainstays such as pricing and brand loyalty. Ironically, retail associates have always been fearful that technology would replace them. The reality is, technology has helped shape a new identity and worth to the sales associate, and it will be interesting to see how the role transforms as live commerce grows in popularity in this new relational economy.

Book a GetBee Demo