Angel Looks to its Crystal Ball for Holiday Shopping Customer Experience Predictions
December 11, 2012
There are only a few weeks left until we are deep in the holiday season, which means a countdown to the most important sales season for online and multichannel retailers. Over the past few years, the overall revenue generated from in-store retail sales has declined, while online revenues have been on the rise.
Newer channels such as mobile and social are impacting holiday shopping behaviors and future retail strategies this year. But, what exactly do these channels mean for the customer experience?
After analyzing the data of the first two full official holiday shopping weeks, Angel, a provider of cloud-based customer experience (CX) solutions including interactive voice response (IVR), has made some key holiday shopping predictions. In a recent blog post, Director of Corporate Marketing Lisa Bonanno discusses her observations of holiday shopping taking place across the different channels.
The first prediction is based on social media. According to Bonanno, a title from Laura Heller’s recent post on Point of Purchase says it all: “Social Media Loses Big with Holiday Shoppers.” Referencing IBM’s (News - Alert) Digital Analytics Benchmark report, the post points out that shoppers referred from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube generated less than one percent of online sales on Black Friday (News - Alert), which is a decrease of more than 35 percent from 2011.
The future of social media commerce doesn’t look promising, according to Bonanno, but there is an opportunity to leverage every network to create a customer community. In a recent survey, Angel found that customer service is an ongoing experience with 14 percent of customers likely to tell friends about their customer service experiences online.
So, Angel’s prediction is that social media will tank as a sales channel, but will be a critical tool in how businesses engage with their customers this holiday season.
Next, e-commerce sales have hit a record high this year, with 57 million shoppers visiting online retail sites on Black Friday alone, and sales exceeding $1 billion. Still, six out of 10 shoppers had trouble making online purchases and reported long or dropped customer service calls. “This experience will not only lead to a lost sale, but also to a potentially lost customer,” said Bonanno.
Angel predicts that online commerce will remain a key player in the holiday shopping season, but retailers will need to implement the right resources to create a more personalized and reliable experience.
Last but not least, Angel has seen mobile transactions increase over 96 percent since 2011 and 24 percent of consumers are now browsing retail sites from their mobile devices. There are mobile apps that help shoppers organize their purchases and retailers are introducing scanning capabilities to give shoppers insight on product availability. “As great as being organized is, it’s time mobile helps consumers become transactional,” she said.
This holiday season, Angel’s prediction is that mobile will be the winner, but mobile success in 2013 will depend on businesses identifying new ways mobile can be used to improve customer experience.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein