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The holiday shopping season is upon us, and retailers everywhere are battling with unprecedented demand while maintaining heightened customer experience expectations.
The 2015 Eptica Retail Holiday Customer Experience Study shows results that aren’t too promising for retailers. Consider that 40% of customers expressed dissatisfaction with the in-store shopping experience, with 35% also saying that they were unhappy with the online experience. The in-store number gains extra weight when compared to only 30% saying they were extremely satisfied by the experience.
Retailers’ websites are proving to be ineffective, reflected by a whopping 18% of shoppers finding it impossible or extremely difficult to locate certain information. Perhaps even more of a concern is the top response: 50% of consumers say that they’re able to find the information “around half the time.”
Online shopping continues to be a substantial presence in holiday shopping, and was the leading channel through which gifts were purchased; 63% of customers made at least one online purchase while at home or work, compared to 56% for in-store purchases, the second most popular response.
In a trend that is gaining steam this holiday season, customers are ordering products via smartphone while in the store. This is a prime example of ‘show-rooming,’ in which customers look at products while in the store, but order them online either from the same company (23% of surveyed customers) or from a rival that provides better experience (20%).
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday phenomena are as strong as ever, and more shoppers are doing a majority of their buying before December even begins, with 10% being completely done with their holiday shopping. More than half of shoppers (52%) are at least halfway done, and the procrastinating has begun for the 21% that hadn’t started shopping as of Nov. 30, the date of the survey.
As the holidays rapidly approach, retailers need to be prepared for waves of shoppers until the very last moment.
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