This blog post is part of Forrester’s Holiday 2021 retail series.

It’s the second holiday season of the COVID-19 pandemic. Your prospects and customers have found their personal comfort levels with new distanced and digitally enabled versions of holiday cheer. And, like last year, they want confidence, not questions, when using apps and websites.

With the ongoing pandemic and approaching holiday season, Confidence remains one of the most important feelings you can give your customers.

Now’s the time to make sure your customers understand whether they’ve found the right product on your site or app, know when they’ll receive their item in time, and know how to easily return the item if it isn’t quite right.

What’s at stake? If you don’t increase your customers’ confidence, you’ll face more contact-center phone calls and messages — as well as simply lost prospects who’ve made their purchase somewhere else. Even worse, your brand will be thought of as unhelpful during an emotionally charged moment.

What Are The Top Ways You Can Create More Confidence For Your Customers Today?

  • Scour your site and product descriptions for confusing terms. Use call transcripts or other research methods to understand what your customers don’t know or understand. Add help text at minimum — or change the words altogether if possible.
  • Elevate chat visibility and staff it appropriately. You may not be able to find all the uncertainty-creating issues, but you can ensure that you’re answering quick questions fast.
  • Improve imagery to ensure that customers know what they’re getting. Many customers are buying much more than they ever have online and are guessing at what they’ll actually receive. Can you add size comparisons to common objects? Clarify colors? Even make product images available through augmented reality?
  • Elevate reviews that help explain. If you can’t change imagery this late in the game, can you make reviews more visible? Often, hearing from other customers will increase confidence in the item on the product detail page.
  • Review how you communicate delivery timing. Customers may be buying things they would have purchased in-store and gotten immediately but now are buying digitally. They’ll want to know when their order will show up (and ideally not a date range). Communicate about out-of-stock items and delivery timing early in the process — not at the last minute before checkout. And of course, there’s always pressure for gifts to arrive on time, so do regularly update your customer as the shipment progresses.
  • Review your order status notifications for clarity and utility. Just sending status notifications will increase your customers’ confidence. Want to go one better? Communicate your return practices, return policies, and usage (e.g., assembly) tips. You can even put as much care into the return notifications as you do the order confirmations to really boost confidence in your company. Make sure also that the text is large, well spaced out, and clear.
  • Authenticate your products and warn of counterfeits. Because online marketplaces allow gray-market sellers and counterfeiters to sell online, you must validate the authenticity of your products on your direct-to-consumer websites and warn of third-party counterfeit sellers. Beauty brand MAC Cosmetics has a counterfeit warning page, and Canon has examples of what gray-market products look like.

These are just a few of the methods you can use to increase your customers’ confidence. For more, see our report, Design For Confidence, or reach out with questions by scheduling an inquiry.