Holiday 2013 was most definitely the season of the connected consumer, with shoppers looking to leverage email offers, in-store research, apps and other e-enabled promotions. These shoppers expect marketers to be up to the challenge, with websites that seamlessly meet their shopping—and pre-shopping research—needs.
“This year’s holiday survey clearly demonstrates that consumers, driven by millenials, are challenging retailers to deliver an exceptional experience,” said Marti Tedesco, senior director of marketing, Baynote, in a statement. “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.”
Baynote’s fourth annual holiday online shopping survey, conducted in partnership with the etailing group, surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers following Cyber Monday. Promotions influenced the majority of holiday purchases, with free shipping not surprisingly at the top of the list—60% of those surveyed indicated this was extremely important.
Taking Advantage of Email
Thirty-eight percent of respondents always or frequently take advantage of email promotions, while 42% leveraged flash sales. Women were more likely than men to have all or some of their purchases be contingent on promotions. Shoppers between the ages of 18 and 24 were 28% more likely to take advantage of flash sales and 25% more likely to leverage web-only promotions than shoppers 55 years or older.
Branded app use increased across the board during Holiday 2013: 34% of shoppers made a purchase on a retail-branded app, an increase of 48% from 2012.
Use of mobile devices to do in-store research also surged: 62% used a smartphone to compare prices while shopping in a store while 61% redeemed a mobile coupon during in-store checkout. Over 40% used tablets to perform these actions.
Shoppers between the ages of 18-34 were 43% 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,” stated 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.”
Shoppers are also becoming increasingly demanding of what they expect from a retailer’ website. Reliable on-site search was ranked as very or extremely important by 74% of respondent, while 68% said web product pages with strong images, complete copy and user-generated content was key.
“Shopper expectations are at an all-time high,” said Lauren Freedman, president, the e-tailing group. “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.”