Providing a Seamless Customer Experience is a 2013 Holiday Shopping Essential

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Omnichannel
Customer Experience
Each year it seems as though the holiday shopping season starts earlier and earlier. This year is no exception. Given that it's the shortest shopping season with only 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many consumers have already been hitting the malls and browsing online for deals.

Each year it seems as though the holiday shopping season starts earlier and earlier. This year is no exception. Given that it's the shortest shopping season with only 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many consumers have already been hitting the malls and browsing online for deals.

In fact, a survey conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc. and Goldman Sachs showed that more retailers are opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day, with 13 percent of U.S. consumers planning to shop on that day.

Consumers in general plan to spend more this holiday season. The National Retail Federation expects consumers to spend 3.9 percent more this year compared to last year for a total of $602 billion in sales. Online sales on black Friday alone are expected to jump to $1.6 billion. And the Adobe Digital index estimates double-digit growth on Cyber Monday, breaking records as the highest single online shopping day every with sales over $2.27 billion.

The statistic that surprised me the most comes from Accenture's Annual Holiday Survey, in which 65 percent of respondents reported they plan to "webroom," or browse online and then buy in the stores. And 63 percent plan to showroom, or browse in the stores and go online to find better deals.

These surveys results don't just reveal that consumers have intensive shopping planned for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday this year; they also indicate that providing a seamless customer experience between brands' mobile, Web, and in-store properties is more critical than ever before.

For retailers, this means maximizing sales opportunities will require engaging the omnichannel shopper through a seamless, personalized, cross-channel experience that takes into account customers' service and marketing experience.

Here, Anna Papachristos points out two tips to engage customers at every turn. And Cynthia Clark offers advice here for training frontline employees during the holiday rush.

Over the course of the next month, 1to1 Media will offer similar advice, tips, and trends around providing an engaging, seamless, interactive experience for customers as they shop for the perfect gifts. We hope that we can be a resource during this busy time.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION