By now you should be making the most of this unusual holiday season with some great promotions and marketing plans. But there’s more to get on top of than simply maintaining stock levels of popular products and ensuring tracking info is working correctly in automated emails. Proactivity over many areas is key to ensuring that any potential pitfalls are taken care of, so that you can focus on sales and engagement rather than returns and technical issues. With that in mind, here are seven tips for auto aftermarket web stores to ensure that this busy shopping period continues well into the New Year. 

Ensure Parts Are Tagged Correctly

One study found that 84% of auto parts eCommerce website visitors were ready to make a purchase but weren’t sure if the part they were looking at fit their vehicle. This kind of confusion can lead to browse abandonment, increased customer service queries and product returns if the wrong part is purchased.

You can avoid all of these issues and save your time-poor holiday shoppers the effort by including accurate parts data and having auto parts fitment search enabled on your web store. When a user’s search begins with entering their vehicle’s information—such as year, make and model—this data can then be saved for their future visits to your store. This means that their searches are personalized to their preferences, and they only see results that suit their specific vehicle.

Use Data Automation & Solid SEO

When you have thousands of individual parts that you’re selling, it’s wise to use a data automation service or plug-in. This automatically adds new products, changes product information as needed and synchronizes supplier inventory. It means that all of your product listings are kept up to date uniformly and seamlessly, without the need for you to make manual updates.

You can also ensure that any personalized naming systems you use to individualize your store, target certain audiences or improve your SEO remain consistent. Follow our SEO checklist for what to fix to drive sales through better search rankings and more traffic. One example of a data automation service is Data Here-To-There, but there are also other data automation processes and software available, depending on your store size and budget.

Utilize Your Existing Feedback

Comb through all of your communication channels—emails, voicemails, direct messages on social media, text messages, etc—and look for what questions your customers ask most often. Also look at reviews on websites, and any notes you’ve taken from customer phone calls. Analyze what your past customers have said and what they are currently saying to get to the root of their issues.

Is their problem lack of clarity (they couldn’t understand) or lack of visibility (they couldn’t find the information they were looking for)? Can you identify a theme or pattern behind their questions, complaints and feedback? What could you make clearer for them? Where could you add further information so that customers could help themselves more without needing to reach out to you?

Have a System for Handling Queries

Delegate tasks and have a clear process for keeping customer queries on your social media pages organized and answered in a timely fashion. This goes for both private messages and public comments on your posts. Assign the responsibilities of notifications and replies to a single person, in order to eliminate any confusion. That person needs to make sure that digital notifications are reaching them, either via text or email. As more and more people shop online and the bar continues to be raised, great customer service can set your store apart and be the reason you make a sale over your competitor.

Update Your Messaging & Be Upfront About Issues

New times call for new communications. Shoppers are savvy and can tell when your communications and pre-written customer service responses are out of date. This is an unusual time and shipping is likely to be even more delayed than usual these holidays. Preempt customer frustration by clearly and widely communicating this information via email marketing, your website (product page, checkout page, homepage), SMS marketing and social media. Be clear and concise and link to your FAQ and/or Q&A pages. When sending emails offering assistance, make it clear when a human will be involved to help.

Offer Multiple Payment Installment Options

After the tumultuous year that 2020 has been, it’s likely that more shoppers will be turning to payment installment options during their holiday shopping and beyond. Ensure that your web store is equipped with popular options such as Afterpay, Klarna, Affirm and Quadpay. Also enable popular alternative payment options like PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay—if you haven’t already, now is the time to get it set up. The more digital payment options you can offer, the more likely you are to make that sale.

Employ Automated Chat Tools

This year, many web stores are facing the combined challenges of increased traffic and decreased staff to manage customer service. Automated tools like chatbots can be useful for starting the conversation with your visitors and answering basic queries, allowing your human team to focus on more complex issues. Just be sure to write your chatbot responses in a way that’s human enough (like how you would speak to them in-store), but not so human that the customer thinks they’re talking to an actual human! Like with your emails, be clear about when they will be talking to one of your staff members, if necessary. For more on this, read our detailed guide to the best live chat practices for your eCommerce site.

Conclusion

It’s an unusual holiday season and if we’ve learned anything from this year it’s to expect the unexpected. InteractOne can help you navigate these common challenges and tailor solutions to your business. Contact us today and we’ll help you stay on top of any potential issues now and into the New Year.

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Posted by Contributor