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Brands providing a poor customer experience will face a tough holiday shopping season this year, with a survey from Emailvision and YouGov finding that the consumer's shopping experience both online and in-store will make all the difference to where they shop. This article is copyright 2012 The Best Customer Guide.

More than half of adults online (53%) admit that their online and in-store experiences with brands are likely to affect who they choose to shop with for gifts and presents this festive season. This year, shoppers in the UK are set to spend a total of £87 billion and, in a noisy market filled with attractive offers, retail brands will need to work hard to keep their customers happy and loyal, the survey concluded.

According to Emailvision, retailers must make the most of all available customer data and take advantage of this last consumer 'splurge' before the New Year, making sure that their holiday messages are both relevant and personal.

Female shoppers are the most likely to either cherish or begrudge a brand, with almost three fifths (59%) saying their previous in-store and online experiences are likely to influence who they choose to shop with this festive season. This is compared to only 48% of men whose experiences are likely to influence their shopping habits.

Those working full time will be the most selective with their cash. Over half (56%) said their choice of brand this festive season is likely to be affected by online and in-store experiences, compared to only 40% of unemployed people.

The study also showed that Scottish adults are the most likely to be selective with their shopping choices, with 59% admitting their shopping experience is likely to influence their festive shop. The Midlands are slightly more forgiving with under half (47%) claiming their online and in-store experiences would sway their store preferences.

"This survey acts as a reminder to retailers and marketers who may be focusing more on their offers and less on the overall customer experience. Many retailers may be expecting a pre-holiday spike in sales, but to earn this revenue they will need to create tailored shopping experiences," said Henry Smith, product marketing director for Emailvision.

The goal for retailers should therefore be to make communications and customer interactions engaging and seamlessly integrated into the holiday shopping experience. Armed with information about customers and their preferences, it is still possible to give consumers a very positive shopping experience, even in the hectic holiday rush when the customer experience, sales support, and customer service are often stretched beyond normal capacity.