Picture 3 E commerce: Special Christmas EditionIn an offline relationship the price of forgetting special dates, like birthdays and anniversaries is usually very high. So, why should you treat your online relationships any differently? Especially if that VIP is your customer. Making someone feel special is part of any great customer experience. Your online customers provide you with so much personal information that makes it almost easier to create a personalized special occasion for an online contact than for an old friend.

Royal Dutch Airline KLM has launched recently the campaign KLM Surprise at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. KLM surprises passengers that have checked into KLM’s Foursquare locations with personalized gifts, according to info gathered from passenger’s accounts on social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Imagine if something like this happened every time you flied on your birthday, or if hotels took into account and planned something special for you when you were staying during your anniversary.

The Christmas holiday is a special occasion for many people, after all who can say no to cookies and presents? Let’s take a look at how some brands used social media to spread the message of joy and up their sales on the way:

Facebook pop up stores: F-commerce has really taken off in 2010 as we’ve mentioned in previous post, and has worked as an ideal online alternative to the brick-and-mortar pop-up retail stores that have also been a big trend, especially for fashion brands over the past year. Swarovski Elements chose this way to showcase its 2010 Holiday season collection; major retailer JCPenney launched its Facebook e-commerce application just in time for the holiday shopping; and Toys”R”Us has decorated its Christmas store and promotes its daily special offers until the Christmas day. Facebook is a great platform for pop up stores but you need to have in mind that the need for perfect customer service exists equally across all platforms. Make sure you facilitate the customer and that information like shipping dates and correspondent telephone numbers are easy to find on your Facebook page. Christmas shopping is stressful enough without having to check with your astrologer on the delivery time of your orders.

Gifts Fever: Gift recommendation has been popular with brands so far, even as a mobile app, like Coach Gift Finder iPhone app and the House of Fraser app. Etsy took it one step further with Etsy Gift Ideas for Facebook Friends. All you have to do is connect with your Facebook account and Etsy will make personalized recommendations for your friends based on their Facebook profile. Victoria’s Secret Pink has curated a list of Best Gifts, based on the most popular VS Pink items used on Polyvore’s fashion sets. Personalized gift recommendations are a smooth, non-creepy way to apply the wealth of information you gather through your customers’ social networks.

Charity: Some call it karma, others good business sense. The point is charity will leave no one unhappy as by helping others you will also help your brand to spread its good name. Gap showcases its most wanted gifts on Facebook and makes the commitment that if you“Like” the specific video video, Gap will donate 1$ to selected charities, while Target through its Facebook app calls its fans to create wish lists, for each one Target will donate $5 to specific charities. Walmart asks its Facebook friends to “Like” a community and promises to donate $1 million to the most supported community and $100,000 each to the next five communities. Macy’s has created a Facebook game with the mission to deliver the letters to Santa and will make a donation of $1 to Make-A-Wish Foundation, up to $250,500 for each time the letters get successfully delivered. Charity is a great way to engage with your customers and bond over giving back to the community. Who knows maybe you will find out if Karma works after all.

Picture 4 E commerce: Special Christmas Edition

Wish Lists: The traditional letter to Santa got a social media re-do! Wish lists are a beautiful way to leverage word of mouth marketing and promote your products across different social networks without being too pushy. Sears through its Facebook page enables its customers to spread the Christmas spirit on Facebook with Sears e-gift cards and also grants daily a wish from the ones entered in Sears wishbook. Yoox enables its loyal fashionistas to create their letter to Santa and share their dream items with friends in an elegant and personal way with the help of some beautiful illustrations. American Apparel invites its customers to send their wish list to a friend so that he/she will get a 10% off the items on the list. Wish Lists not only sprinkle a little magic dust on the customer experience, but are also a valuable, practical tool, for both the consumer and the e-tailer. Help your customers get the perfect gifts, while getting out the word on your products or services.

Imagine online Christmas shopping experience as a huge gift: it should be wrapped up with care in a tasteful paper, personal, chosen with consideration of the receiver’s personal taste and accompanied by considerate words so as to place a smile on a face. How do these qualities translate into the world of social media? Which online shopping experience putted a smile on your face this Christmas?