The news is awash with stories on how the country's retailers are gearing up for the mad holiday rush that begins with Black Friday. Most of the news has to do with price promotions, store hours and staffing to handle the increase in store traffic. As an example, a story on DSN Retailing Today outlines how mass market giant Target is preparing for the holiday's with the customer experience in mind.
Not unlike others, Target will expand its store hours and feature price promotions. For example, the stores will open at 5 a.m. and the first 500 guests will receive a gift. Those who spend $100 or more (not hard to do at Target) between 5:00 and Noon will get a $10 gift card.
As far as price, the retailer will offer its Low Price Promise. In other words, if a guest finds a lower price at a competitor, Target will match the price during the competitor's valid ad date.
Perhaps more eye opening is the improvement being made to the return policy. As a standard, Target has a 90 day policy for returns or exchanges accompanied by a receipt. However, a recent expansion allows you to return or exchange up to $70 in merchandise without a receipt on a rolling 12-month cycle and new and unused items over the $70 can be exchanged for items in the same department.
The on-line function is also getting into the act with free shipping on most items when you spend $50 or more.
Other retailers are also offering similar programs. This is just one example of how a company is using their customer satisfaction data to directly enhance the customer experience for the holidays and beyond.