The holiday season is in full-swing. To satisfy savvy and demanding holiday shoppers, retailers must streamline both online and in-store experiences or risk losing customers now and in the future. To further understand this year’s holiday shopping trends, we surveyed more than 1,000 frequent online shoppers across multiple generations to learn what customers really want from retailers.
Here are a few insights that can help brands thrive in an increasingly competitive landscape over the holidays:
- Millennials want personalized, curated experiences. More than half of respondents aged 18-24 value personalization as a top factor, far above older shoppers. Additionally, 35 percent report that they are highly likely to leave physical stores when associates aren’t familiar with their buying behavior across channels. Prioritize personalized, curated experiences and educational videos and resources when creating experiences for younger shoppers.
- More than four out of ten shoppers will make more than half of their purchases from Amazon. But fear not – shoppers can still be brought back to retailers. Special offers and promotions, better prices, unique product offerings and faster delivery times can sway consumers to choose brands over Amazon. If you can offer a more positive experience, shoppers don’t mind passing on Amazon.
- Email and live chat trumps social media when it comes to customer engagement. When asked how they expect to engage with retailers over the holiday season, shoppers ranked email, onsite FAQs and live chat above call centers and social media. As customers hesitate to pick up the phone, brands must invest in quality online customer service to address concerns and answer questions. This means online representatives ready to chat directly with customers, and accessible resources that allow shoppers to answer their own questions.
- One in three shoppers are highly likely to take action as a result of text notifications. Email marketing has long reigned supreme for brands trying to reach consumers, and many brands are cautious to try reaching customers through text messages. However, shoppers may be more eager to get alerts from their favorite brands than marketers assume. More than a third of shoppers report that they are highly likely to take action when receiving text notifications for special offerings such as:
- Coupons and promotional alerts outside of store visits
- Discount alerts during store visits
- Notifications that an item in an online cart is available in-store upon arrival
Customers value convenience and efficiency, especially as many of them make last-minute orders for holiday gifts. Brands should use the holiday season to go above and beyond customer expectations, which will keep customers coming back this season and into 2017.