Where should retailers invest their marketing dollars in 2014?
Featured on www.bulldogreporter.com January 14, 2014
Shoppers Reveal Great Expectations for Omnichannel Commerce In New Baynote Study: Promotions, Mobile Access, Ease of Use, Ratings and Reviews Make or Break Customer Experience
Baynote, a provider of personalized customer experience solutions, recently revealed the results from its 4th Annual Holiday Online Shopping Survey. The study, conducted in partnership with the e-tailing group, surveyed 1,000 U.S. online holiday shoppers following Cyber Monday, 2013, to gain insight into consumer behavior and key buying influencers across various retail channels, including physical stores, eCommerce websites, social networks, tablets and mobile devices.
“This year’s holiday survey clearly demonstrates that consumers, driven by Millennials, are challenging retailers to deliver an exceptional experience,” saidMarti Tedesco, senior director of marketing at Baynote, in a news release. “For retailers, this means creating a seamless customer experience across all devices that is integrated with in-store shopping activities. Retailers who meet or exceed these consumer demands will flourish while others will fall behind.”
Following are highlights of the insights provided by the survey:
Promotions influence majority of holiday purchases with unconditional free shipping reigning supreme:
- Free shipping: Sixty percent of shoppers indicated that free shipping without conditions is extremely important when making a final purchase; this represents a 58 percent increase from the 2012 holiday shopping season.
- Email promotions: Thirty-eight percent always or frequently take advantage of promotions received via email, while 42 percent leverage flash sales.
- Price matching: Sixty percent purchased a product on Amazon or another competitor while in a store as the store would not price match.
- Gender: Women were significantly more likely to have all or most of their purchases include promotions.
- Age: Shoppers between the ages of 18 and 24 were 28 percent more likely to take advantage of flash sales and 25 percent more likely to leverage web-only promotions than shoppers 55 years or older.
Mobile usage accelerates across the board as branded apps start to exert influence:
- Branded apps: Thirty-four percent of shoppers made a purchase on a retail-branded app, an increase of 48 percent from 2012.
- In-store research: Sixty-two percent used a smartphone to compare prices while shopping in a store while 61 percent redeemed a mobile coupon during in-store checkout; 43 percent of respondents used a tablet for the former, and 44 percent used a tablet for the latter.
- Age: Shoppers between the ages of 18-34 were 43 percent more likely to use a smartphone to research stores and products before visiting a store than those 55 years or older.
“It’s no surprise that mobile thrived this holiday season, as shoppers turned to personal devices for everything from researching products to redeeming coupons,” said Tedesco. “What is really interesting is that the smartphone has become the bridge between the online and in-store experience. This has major ramifications on the investments that retailers should make in cross-channel tools. As the millennial generation continues to exert its influence, retailers must respond with mobile technologies that drive a cohesive customer experience.”
Shoppers demand a streamlined experience typified by easy access to information and integrated online and in-store tools:
- On-site search: Seventy-four percent of shoppers say finding what they want on a retailers’ site by using onsite search is very or extremely important.
- Web experience: Sixty-eight percent say viewing products on web pages that include complete copy, strong imagery, photography and user-generated content is very or extremely important.
- Self-service: Sixty-three percent say more accessible and responsive customer service access is very or extremely important.
- Research: Sixty-three percent used a smartphone to research stores and products prior to visiting a store; 76 percent of respondents used a tablet (at least two times over the past few months)
- Research: Sixty-four percent researched products online prior to their store visit to check for inventory availability.
“Shopper expectations are at an all-time high,” said Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group, in the release. “This puts incredible pressure on retailers to not only keep pace with rapidly evolving technologies but to ensure these technologies are available in an easy-to-access, simple-to-use format. The truly successful companies will see this as an incredible opportunity—one that allows them to ‘wow’ customers while continually gaining greater insights into their desires for more effective targeting.”
Product ratings and reviews exert the greatest influence on both online and in-store purchases:
- Online influence: Ratings and reviews influenced online purchases made by 48 percent of shoppers, a 45 percent increase from 2012.
- In-store influence: Ratings and reviews influenced 37 percent of in-store purchases, a 12 percent increase from 2012.
- In-store mobile influence: Fifty-two percent of shoppers use mobile phones to look at product ratings while in store, a 24 percent increase.
- Age: Shoppers between the ages of 18 and 24 years old are 24 percent more likely to view ratings and reviews on mobile device when in the store.
The survey was administered to 1,000 consumers the week following Cyber Monday, 2013. All respondents had to own a smartphone and 65 percent of respondents also owned tablets. The survey was equally divided between male and female respondents.