How Retailers Can Improve Relations with the Shopper this Holiday Season

By Salesforce, Special for  USDR

Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), the Customer Success Platform and world’s #1 CRM company, today released its “2015 Connected Shoppers Report.” With the holiday season approaching, the research surveyed more than 2,000 American adults (referred to as “shoppers” or “consumers”), exploring their current attitudes, habits and use of technology as part of the shopping  experience.

Retailers today are facing stiff competition from multiple sources — from the retailer down the street, to online retailers, to flash sale websites that claim to offer the best deals. As Black Friday approaches, and with more than $950 billion expected to be spent this holiday season in the United States1, new research from Salesforce shows that in order to succeed, retailers need to accelerate digital transformations to provide personalized, 1-to-1 customer journeys for  customers.

The study was commissioned by Salesforce and conducted online by Harris Poll in October 2015. To download the Salesforce “2015 Connected Shoppers Report,” click  here.

2015 Connected Shoppers Report Key Findings

  • As Black Friday approaches, consumers are avoiding physical stores.
    • Eighty-eight percent of shoppers who avoid going to physical stores during the holiday season do so due to the crowds (82%), limited parking (48%), convenience of online shopping (48%) and a lack of knowledge/service from seasonal employees (24%).
    • Nearly half (49%) of shoppers who responded find the post-holiday gift return process difficult in stores.
  • Retailers struggle when it comes to leveraging technology to create seamless,  omnichannel experiences for shoppers.
    • In-store shoppers want store associates to know what they have previously purchased in the store or online (31%), but only 10% of consumers expect this to actually happen.
    • More than 80% of consumers research products online before going into a store. And while studies continue to prove the importance of an omnichannel shopper experience, very few consumers surveyed in this report have downloaded retailer mobile apps (33%) or see a connection between retailers’ online, mobile or in-store channels.
  • Consumers have taken the driver’s seat in the shopping experience.
    • Nearly half of in-store shoppers (48%) believe that they typically know more about a retailer’s product than the store associate.
    • While 47% of shoppers continue to ask store associates for their opinions on products, 67% sometimes have doubts around whether associates are telling the truth.
    • Half of consumers would be more likely to shop at a certain retailer based on the technology store associates use to assist customers.
    • More than a quarter of in-store shoppers (28%) agree that robots could replace store associates.
  • Millennials, a trillion-dollar market for retailers, are willing to trade their personal data for a better shopping experience.2
    • Over one-third of Millennials (ages 18-34) who shop at stores (36%) would like retailers to know who they are when they walk into stores with location-based technologies.
    • Nearly two-thirds of Millennials (61%) are willing to disclose their personal data and social media profiles to brands to get better service.

Comments on the News

  • “Retailers are no longer just competing with the store down the block during the holidays. They’re competing with Amazon,” saidShelley Bransten, SVP of retail, Salesforce. “This new research indicates that brick-and-mortar brands that bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds have the best chance of thriving during the holidays–and beyond.”
  • “To succeed in this new era of the digital shopper, companies need to put customers at the center of everything they do,” saidJodie Fox, Co-founder, Shoes of Prey. “It’s all about creating a personalized experience for each and every customer whether they are online or in-store.”

Additional  Resources

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