Prince George celebrates his first birthday on 22nd July. With each milestone or public appearance, the future King brings worldwide media attention and as a result he has become a brand ambassador for children’s clothing over the last 12 months.
Retailers are noticing ‘the George effect’, with items the prince has worn selling out in hours.
The newspapers reported that his Rachel Riley smocked romper sold out in almost all smaller sizes, and following the family’s portrait for Mother’s day this year, when the prince sported a baby blue number with ‘George’ emblazoned on his chest, personalised baby clothes retailer My1stYears.com sold 1,200 jumpers in just four hours.
The family is rumoured to be marking George’s first birthday with official photographs so all eyes will be on what he’s wearing and the toys he’s playing with. As a result, there is a huge opportunity for retailers to drive sales using the trends that are popular with the prince.
With an increase in traffic and more sales expected depending on what George wears, retailers cannot afford to lose out because of a website malfunction or a transaction failure. They need to be prepared and have the back end infrastructure to cope with high demand, whilst still being able to offer great Internet performance and the best customer experience.
So what can retailers do to ensure their website copes with the George Effect in the lead up to his birthday?
1. Identify ‘booms’ in advance – Where possible try to identify a traffic boom ahead of time; seasonal peaks like Mother’s Day or Christmas can be planned for. Ensure that you have the systems in place to cope with this demand so your website doesn’t slow down or deteriorate in quality with an increase in traffic or access.
Think globally too; set up systems so that people can access your site from anywhere in the world and experience the same quality and user experience.
2. Assess the customer experience – Think critically about your site. Remember, according to an Amazon study, one second of additional latency can lead to a one percent drop in sales. How easy is it to find product information? How long and complicated is the checkout process? How does it compare to your competitors? These are questions that need to be asked on a regular basis to ensure the best customer experience possible.
Too many strategies focus on customer acquisition but the cost of a new customer is in the acquisition, whereas repeat business is far more profitable.
3. Don’t delay, email – Once an item has been purchased be sure to send email confirmation to the customer immediately. It’s important not to fall at the final hurdle and to continue the positive customer experience. Make sure the transactional portion of the message stays at the top of the email, while incorporating any marketing messaging at the bottom.
So if you have sent a receipt for a Prince George style baby t-shirt, catch attention with an item that compliments the one purchased. Also, make it personal; personalised emails improve click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%, according to a study by Aberdeen.
4. Any questions? – The main challenge for online retailers at busy times is making sure that any queries are answered and communicated to the customer in a timely manner. You need to have the capacity to deal with any questions from customers whether via phone or online. Most customers have potential bug bears with web self-service, when returning an item or not having enough information about the product in the first place to make an educated purchase. These problems can be remedied, it just requires a consistent commitment to go the extra mile.
Ensure you are accessible, offer channels for support and set customers’ expectations around when they will hear from you.
Whilst driving sales through real time trends and celebrity influence presents opportunities for retailers, if they don’t have the back end infrastructure to cope with demand and their website crashes, the venture is more likely to be a publicity flop than a sales boost. However, Internet performance is more than simply providing resilience and a high-speed network.
It is about working to gain increased commercial and operational leverage, whilst ensuring the delivery of content and a better end user experience to their customers. Your online reputation can be valued by the Internet experience you provide. Providing the best Internet performance possible and thinking about your customers throughout the whole journey – from accessing your website to ensuring your emails hit their Inbox – is crucial to your success, no matter how busy and in demand your site is.