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What Do Consumers Really Want This Holiday Shopping Season? Mobile Convenience, Personalization, Social Endorsements Top List

holiday shopping word cloudAccording to new holiday-shopping research from e-commerce technology firm MarketLive, 78 percent of surveyed shoppers are likely to visit a store as a result of a text promotion or alert via mobile device, while 56 percent look for gift ideas on social sites like Pinterest, and 55 percent are now comfortable with sharing their preferences with retailers in exchange for convenience and personalized product recommendations. These are among the findings from the org’s 7th Annual Holiday Research Study, which examines what shoppers are expecting from retailers during the 2015 holiday shopping season.

“Consumers are adopting new technologies that seemed futuristic just a year ago,” said Ken Burke, founder and CEO of MarketLive, in a news release. “Text alerts are now an accepted way to receive coupons and promotions, and personalized product suggestions based on prior purchases or online viewing patterns are now expected. Also, no retailers should question the value of their social network in the Millennial realm. A staggering 47% with Pinterest accounts said they had purchased something online after pinning it. Millennials should become an advocate of your brand—that is paramount.”

“Every year, these survey results surprise and delight us. This year we are seeing confident consumers who know how to use their smartphone to be an informed and efficient shopper across all available channels,” said Lauren Freedman, president of market research firm the e-tailing group, which conducts the annual shopper survey for MarketLive, in the release. “Winning retailers will have to engage these shoppers on mobile and across every channel, and use technology effectively to personalize promotions and capitalize on evolving social dynamics.”

Study highlights include:

Always-On Mobile Will Shift Holiday Retail Purchases:
Consumers are using their smartphones as shopping tools, whether it is to search for product availability nearby, hunt down coupons, or comparison-shop while standing in the aisles of a physical store:

  • 89% want the ability to buy online and then pick up in-store
  • 78% are likely to visit a store as a result of text promotions or alerts sent via mobile prior to store visits
  • 69% will ask an in-store associate to use a mobile device to locate a product and have it shipped to their home
  • 62% will make a purchase as a result of a notification or offer sent to their mobile device while in the store

Social Networks are About Gift Discovery:
The role of social networks has evolved as shoppers seek and share gift ideas and product information among their social networks and peer groups. Whereas only 27% of survey respondents have made a purchase as a result of an engagement with a social networking site, the majority of shoppers are now using social channels for ideas and recommendations:

  • 75% find product reviews to be the most valuable/influential type of “content”
  • 56% look for gift ideas on social sites like Pinterest
  • 53% share product recommendations with friends/family via social channels
  • 51% discover new products via social channels

Personalized Product Recommendations are Paramount:
Technology that tracks shoppers’ preferences and proactively recommends related products is now perceived as efficient and convenient, and is welcomed by a majority of consumers:

  • 55% of shoppers are likely to take advantage of personalized product recommendations sent to them by a retailer via e-mail
  • 52% of shoppers are likely to take advantage of personalized product recommendations they get when visiting a retailer’s website
  • 42% of shoppers are likely to take advantage of personalized advertising they receive on their mobile phone

Quality of the Website ‘Store Experience’ is Just as Important as the Physical Store Experience:
For the first time, this year an equal percentage of shoppers are deciding where to buy based on retailers’ websites as on their physical stores. And the shopping experience on mobile screens is becoming more important:

  • 48% of shoppers take into account the quality of the website experience when choosing a particular retailer; also 48% consider the quality of the physical store when choosing where to buy
  • 28% of shoppers consider the quality of the mobile website experience when selecting a particular retailer

In-Store Technology is Catching on with Consumers
Motivated by convenience and efficient shopping experiences, a majority of survey respondents eagerly want to use advanced technology features:

  • 76% want technology that assists in finding the exact location of a product within the physical store (e.g. aisle maps on a mobile phone), particularly important for big box retailers
  • 77% want the ability to purchase items in-store for same day delivery
  • 69% want in-store text messages (prompted while visiting the store) to receive coupons or be alerted of promotions
  • 66% want the ability to pay via a mobile device using a method beyond standard credit card such as PayPal or ApplePay

Freedman shared survey highlights from the survey in a webinar earlier this month. Download the webinar here.

MarketLive’s Holiday Research Study, conducted by the e-tailing group, examined the shopping experiences of 1,000 U.S. consumers who have shopped online at least four times within the past year, own a smartphone, and typically spend $250 or more online annually. The sample was balanced 50% male and 50% female, and was completed during September of 2015.

Source: MarketWired; edited by Richard Carufel

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