While Black Friday is credited as being a major holiday shopping event, the weeks leading up to the end of December are all considered important to retailers. As consumers flock to malls and outlet stores, companies are pulling out all the stops and are not afraid to slash prices to draw in more business.
Such an influx of shoppers could also result in an increase of online customer services. More individuals are using mobile devices to shop on the internet, and as such, quality website customer support can keep businesses ahead of the competition.
According to a recent Washington Post article, some holiday shoppers could actually be postponing their purchases. The holiday season is four days longer than one year ago and there is a weekend immediately before Christmas. The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs conducted a survey showing just 64.9 percent of customers were done getting gifts last Sunday, whereas one year ago, 70.3 percent were finished at this time.
"It's coming down to the wire," David Bassuk, managing director and co-head of the retail practice at AlixPartners, told the news source. "It's going to require retailers to be more aggressive with their promotions than they were hoping heading into the weekend."
A popular tactic by stores to reel in more customers is to severely slash prices. As reported by the Post, teen clothing store Aeropastale cut item costs by 60 percent, while rival American Eagle reduced prices by 40 percent.
While moves like these can temporarily draw customers in, they will hurt stores in the long-run. It's important for businesses across all industries – not just retail – to find cost-effective ways to ensure quality customer service. When consumers feel they are being treated right, they will want to keep coming back.
Partnering with a third-party answering service ensures that customers are always put first and can use a number of contact methods to reach a representative.