In a global survey of consumers' expectations for the holiday season, 90 percent of shoppers said they expect their experience to be consistent across all channels and devices. The SDL study of more than 3,000 consumers reflects the growing expectation of brand unity in an omnichannel retail environment, up 17 percent from last year.
However, what consumers want and what they are getting do not seem to match up. As many as 47 percent of holiday shoppers have been frustrated that in-store impressions do not match a brand's online impressions. And 40 percent have reported a disconnect between the information provided in both channels. Further proof is that the top two reasons shoppers say they are loyal to their favorite brands are consistent, predictable service and consistent experience across devices.
"Consumers today engage with organizations through multiple touchpoints," said Mark Lancaster, CEO and founder, SDL. "This holiday season, more than ever, brands need to be prepared to cater to shoppers wherever they are as they research and purchase products–in-store, online or on their mobile devices. A consistent, superior experience across all interaction channels has become something that customers not only expect, but they demand it; and the brands that can best meet this demand will build customer relationships that continue long after the holiday season."
That relationship means providing customer service through all channels as well. When it comes to engaging with brands this holiday season, 62 percent of consumers expect to be able to chat with brands live on mobile, according to a new study commissioned by Moxie Software. And of those shoppers, 82 percent would use mobile chat if it were available. And in yet another disconnect, the recent 2014 Holiday Retail Audit by eBay Enterprise reported that less than 68 percent of retailers surveyed have no plans to invest in new or existing mobile programs in advance of the holiday season.
Although results vary across generations and genders, the survey showed that 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay a premium for a positive customer experience.
Shoppers plan to do a lot of research before buying gifts this year. Sixty-three percent will research in-store, 46 percent online, 32 percent on a retailer's website and 22 percent will reference catalogues.
And while these consumers will research on computers, tablets and phones, very a small number will actually purchase via tablet, 20 percent, or smartphone, 12 percent.
-See this SDL press release
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