After a lackluster 2020 due to the pandemic, 2021 saw the strongest retail growth in more than two decades. As e-Marketer reports, brick-and-mortar sales rebounded, and eCommerce growth was impressive. Total US retail sales topped $1.2 trillion, up 16.1% over 2021. And all signs point to 2022 continuing on a positive trajectory.
While retailers are optimistic about the 2022 holiday shopping season, they need to make smart decisions to maximize revenues. How can companies prepare for the coming flood of new inbound customer service requests while keeping costs in check?
Here is what you need to know about the 2022 holiday season and why you need to get ready by scaling up your customer service.
Predictions for 2022 Holiday Season: Business Will Continue to Climb
The holiday season in 2020 was very different for many retailers and shoppers alike. Most families scaled-back celebrations and may have had smaller budgets than in previous years. As pandemic restrictions and worries faded in 2021, people shopped more and spent more. Retail reaped the benefits of this renewed focus on shopping and gift-giving.
That said, some of the changes that took root during the pandemic have continued. Now that shoppers are used to the flexibility of multi-channel shopping, they're eager for more. Without a doubt, the desire to shop across multiple channels is here to stay in the 2022 holiday season.
This year, industry-watchers project more moderate but measurable growth. Research shows that retail revenues will likely climb an estimated 3.3% to $1.262 trillion. E-commerce and retail businesses need to be ready for a hectic holiday season.
Keep the Convenience: Why Scaling Up is Critical for the Holidays
In recent years, retailers and e-commerce companies had to make changes to keep operating during an unprecedented global pandemic. But consumers found they enjoyed new shopping options, like mobile commerce and curbside pickup, and will reward companies that maintain these conveniences. In fact, The National Retail Federation found that 90% of customers surveyed stated they are most likely to choose a business if they offer a convenient experience.
What does this mean for the upcoming holiday season? During the weeks leading up to celebrations, people seek out just-right gifts for everyone on their list. They may have questions and need to get advice from customer service representatives. But the need for excellent service doesn't end after consumers buy. Every business knows that people flood retailers and e-commerce stores looking to return or exchange their products after peak buying and gift-giving.
From the start of the holiday shopping season into early next year, companies can expect thousands of phone calls, emails, and messages from customers. Companies that make each part of the customer journey convenient—even returns—will win customers' hearts and minds.
This is why scaling customer service for the holidays is so critical. Businesses that are responsive during the surge can make a positive impression on customers and earn their loyalty. More repeat sales and referrals can follow.
By contrast, disappointing customers during the holiday season can drive them away for good. Many people have high expectations and powerful emotions surrounding end-of-year celebrations. They won't forget any frustrations related to buying or returning gifts can and will likely take their business elsewhere in the future.
Scaling Up to Meet the Up-Coming Influx
After a high-growth 2021 holiday season, businesses should prepare for a more moderate 2022. That doesn't mean you should let customer service take a back seat. Companies that can meet customer demand can have a successful holiday season and put themselves in a good position for the future.
Scaling your customer service teams can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't need to be. At Helpware, our professionals can help you seamlessly meet your customers' needs with minimal headaches. You can rely on our omnichannel customer support teams to provide a great customer experience and maintain strong business growth. Contact us today to see how our experts can help meet your increasing customer service needs.