Holiday shoppers happy but retailers could do better

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on January 27, 2012

Holiday shoppers happy but retailers could do better

Most consumers (84%) said their online shopping experience during the 2011 holiday shopping season was either 'good' or 'excellent', up from 78% in 2010, according to the 'Holiday Online Shopping Experience Survey' by e-commerce personalisation solutions firm Baynote.

The attributes that consumers said were most important for a positive online shopping experience included: a smooth checkout process, effective on-site navigation and search, informative user reviews and comments, and personalised product recommendations - although consumers indicated there is room for improvement across the board. Consumers were also generally satisfied with privacy controls across e-commerce channels, except for Facebook, for which over 20% said it did not meet their privacy expectations.

Among the study's key findings:

  • The future of mobile commerce is the tablet: Nearly half of tablet owners (49%) used their tablets to make purchases.  
  • Respondents indicated that tablets would become a larger part of mobile commerce than other platforms; nearly 60% of tablet owners said they expect to use their tablet to research or purchase products in the next year, compared with only 21% of mobile phone users.  
  • Despite opportunities around the tablet, consumers gave the overall shopping experience on this channel a B- grade.  
  • Despite the hype, social commerce has yet to deliver on its promise: Nearly 80% said social networks had no influence on their holiday shopping decisions yet 55% said getting advice on products from friends was important, indicating retailers are missing an opportunity to exploit the social graph.  
  • Less than 9% of consumers purchased something from a retailer's Facebook fan page, while 20% admitted to making a purchase on another e-commerce website based on a promotion seen on Facebook.  
  • Consumers gave the overall shopping experience on Facebook a C+ grade.  
  • Personalised recommendations are driving sales: The majority of shoppers (57%) purchased items recommended to them, indicating this channel is paying off for online retailers. Shoppers were most satisfied with how retailers personalised the shopping experience on retail websites, compared with Facebook, mobile phones and tablets, with 93% saying it met or exceeded their expectations.  
  • Email and search delivered the most relevant personalised product recommendations, outperforming those of eCommerce sites and in-store sales associates.  
  • Consumers found coupons and promotions delivered via email, direct mail and search more useful than those received via emerging channels such as daily deal sites and social networks.

"While social, mobile and tablet all have tremendous potential, retailers still need to improve the customer shopping experience across these new channels," warned Anurag Wadehra, chief marketing officer for Baynote. "This holds particularly true for the tablet, which we expect will dominate all other emerging channels in the near future."

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