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76 Percent Of Consumers Prefer In-Store To Online For Their Holiday Shopping Needs

But 32 percent say they need better in-store customer service — meaning that retailers need to raise the bar on attentiveness and personalized experiences.

In spite of e-commerce’s projected dominance, over 76 percent of consumers prefer to shop in physical stores during the holiday season, according to ChargeItSpot‘s 2017 Holiday Shopping report — but a third say that better in-store customer service would improve their experience, indicating an opportunity for brick-and-mortar retailers to differentiate themselves through enhanced personalization.

Holiday retail sales are projected to top $678 billion this year. But as retailers well know, a variety of factors — from long lines to misplaced retail stock — can scare away even the customers who prefer the “can’t get it on Amazon” atmosphere of physical stores during the holiday season. That’s why building personalized experiences and quickly serving customers — both face-to-face and on their mobile devices — matters so much.

“The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for retailers,” said Douglas Baldasare, CEO and founder of ChargeItSpot. “Holiday shopping can be hectic for both the shopper and the retailer. It is essential that retailers make sure their staff is equipped to help shoppers and make their trip more enjoyable.”

Customers Shop With Smartphones — But They Don’t Transact There

The biggest takeaway from ChargeItSpot’s report is that customers’ use of mobile devices in-store continues to increase — but it doesn’t mean that they will transact via their smartphone unless they can’t find any of the information that they seek while in the store.

Per the report, shoppers will use their phones for a variety of functions while shopping this holiday shopping season: Most will use them to find store locations (27 percent), find deals (18 percent), compare prices (13 percent), and research products online (6 percent). Very few (3 percent) plan to use their mobile devices to make purchases directly on their devices while they are out shopping.

While retailers should already understand that customers experience the world through online and offline means simultaneously, these statistics do underscore a few key elements for retailers to prioritize: First, as many shoppers will use their mobile and/or connected devices to simply find store locations, discoverability matters more than ever. Marketers have to prioritize answering users’ commonly made queries so they stand a chance of ranking in unbranded search situations. (Read more about driving foot traffic in the age of intelligent search here.)

Secondly, the smartphone has long been touted as the “most personal” device. Retailers must cater to this, as personalized experiences in stores and on mobile have been shown to drive sales increases. Additionally, as we wrote earlier this month, 41 percent of consumers have already abandoned a brand due to poor personalization.

“Year over year we are seeing mobile devices play a larger role in the shopper journey,” added Baldasare. “Consumers use their mobile devices before, during, and after their shopping trips to keep themselves organized and make smarter purchases. As retailers invest more and more in mobile it is important for them to empower the shopper to make the best buying decisions.”

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of GeoMarketing.com. A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.