We've all seen the post-Black Friday weekend shopping statistics: 103 million Americans shopped online, slightly more than the 102 million who shopped in the stores, according to the National Retail Federation.
But whether consumers shopped from their living room sofas or braved the stores, many came away from their experiences less than satisfied. According to the 2015 Eptica Retail Holiday Customer Experience Study released last week, 35 percent of U.S. consumers who shopped online were unhappy with their online experiences this holiday season, while 40 percent are unhappy with their in-store experiences. Another 49 percent are dissatisfied with the experience when buying from a retailer on their smartphones when in one of their stores.
I can relate to the in-store stats. During a single shopping trip to the mall yesterday, I found myself in a few irritating experiences that ultimately sent me back home to continue my shopping from the comfort of my laptop.
At Macy's, I struggled to find a cashier and when I did, the line was long and slow. Providing ample assistance seems to be a no-brainer to avoid dissenters during the holiday rush. Staff stores appropriately and open the majority of check-out stations.
At Abercrombie, when I asked the associate if the 50 percent off sale on the puffer jackets would continue through the week, she responded that sales could change on a dime and they're always a surprise to the associates who work there. She cited one instance where they were told mid-shift to change the sale from 50 percent to 40 percent. Ultimately she couldn't answer my question.Educate your associates and give them the knowledge they need to help customers.
Finally, at Target an item advertised for sale in the circular was picked over. I would have thought to order it right there from my phone if prompted, but I wasn't so I didn't. Give customers the option to quickly scan out-of-stock products from their phones and offer pick-up in the store or free shipping.
The Black Friday weekend shopping stats should serve as a wake-up call to retailers with a physical presence. Providing sub-par service will no longer suffice; optimizing the customer experience is table stakes today and the holiday rush is prime time to put your CX plan in action to retain customers and win over new ones.