Friday, December 2, 2016

Why Virtual Assistants will be Key to Getting through the Holiday Shopping Season on Top

Photo credit

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have kicked off the holiday shopping season this year with a bang. While it was reported that the number of shoppers increased from last year, retailers saw a drop in the average amount of money that was spent - approximately $10 less. (money.cnn.com) This drop could be attributed to a number of things. 1. More people reported all their purchases were sale items, 2. A higher percentage of people bought items that were that were 60% off and higher, (IMAGE) and 3. Businesses were ill prepared (specifically online) for the massive amount of shoppers. According to Forbes, lots of big brands' websites were experiencing server issues that couldn't handle the volume of people. 

Photo credit
"Consumers faced a variety of technical problems on Black Friday and through the so-called “Turkey Five” (the five days after Thanksgiving). Major retailer sites, including Macy’s, QVC, Walmart, Victoria’s Secret and Newegg, all experienced outages, due at least in part to server overload due to enormous boost in traffic. The Gap, Inc. family (Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athletica) was offering a massive 50% off site-wide deal fell victim to the same fate. Other retailers, such as Williams-Sonoma, saw a significant decrease in their page load time—not a great occurrence when buyers are in a hurry to empty their online carts and get on to the next sale." (Forbes)

While things like this are bound to happen,it did not effect the number of online users which continues to grow each year. From last year to this year, approximately 5 million more users were shopping online (about $3.34 billion came from online sales), while brick and mortar store shoppers decreased by 3 million people this year. Out of the online shoppers, $1.2B came from mobile purchases. This is a huge increase from previous years. 

Creating the ultimately customer experience online (via any device) is important to attract new customers and retain existing ones. A major trend this year that consumers are adopting (and preferring) is Virtual Assistants (VA's). While having a VA all year round is a good practice, VA's are also valuable to have during peak seasons as well, such as the holidays. Being able to position your Virtual Assistant as a way for consumers to get quick answers to pre-sales and post-sales questions will reduce the number of inquiries to live agents/employees and increase customer satisfaction. Check out this white paper showing how some of our customers have leveraged their Virtual Assistants during peak seasons: http://www.nohold.com/manage-traffic-spikes-better-with-self-service.html

And it is not just large brands that can benefit. Small and medium businesses, even little personal shops on eBay or Etsy can have a Virtual Assistant to eliminate some of the holiday stress. Visit albertai.com to learn more about creating a Virtual Assistant (bot) quickly and easily, no programming skills required. 

Cheers!