News & Insight

Is Going to the Mall During the Holidays Your Worst Nightmare?

Is Going to the Mall During the Holidays Your Worst Nightmare? NearlyTwo-thirds of Consumers Agree

Research Shows Savvy Consumers Want Integrated Omni-channel Customer Engagement That Combines In-store, Online and Mobile Shopping Seamlessly

According to research from ACCENT now STARTEK, the key to a successful customer engagement strategy is a consistent omni-channel experience. Retailers know the holidays are an important opportunity to build new customer relationships and strengthen customer loyalty, but research shows they face challenges delivering experiences and promotions across multiple channels.

The findings from the company’s 2014 Survey "'Tis the Season for Customer Engagement" provides insights on customer expectations and retailers' plans for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Retailers engagement strategies are put to the test during this busy shopping season – from delivering the same messages and promotions across all channels to impact of sale holidays, i.e. Black Friday and Cyber Monday on consumer spending.

"Our research found that Black Friday and Cyber Monday is less meaningful to consumers than in the past, and it's imperative that retailers have an omni-channel strategy to capture customers across devices and throughout the entire holiday season," said John Hoholik, chief marketing officer of STARTEK. "With today's empowered consumers, retailers need to understand and work to meet consumer needs. For retailers during the holiday season, it's not just about making sure the doors are open for Black Friday, but it requires understanding when customers like to shop, how they like to shop, and how they evaluate products."

Key findings in the report include:

Nearly two-thirds of consumers (65 percent) say going to the mall during the holidays is their worst nightmare

  • 88 percent of consumers say free shipping makes them more likely to shop online, while 30 percent shop online to find the best deal possible, 20 percent to avoid holiday crowds
  • 51 percent shop in stores to physically evaluate products
  • 70 percent of consumers say product quality drives loyalty, but 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay more when the brand delivers a positive customer experience
  • 87 percent of retailers feel like their brand gives all the information consumers need about sales, inventory, backorders, etc. to respond to customers during the holidays; yet 54 percent of consumers say store employees have a hard time answering these questions

"Accurately measured customer engagement is critical for retailers looking to win customers during the holidays and retain those customers in the months and years following," continued Hoholik.  "To do so, CMOs need to prepare for the holiday shopping rush and ensure that they are providing the best possible omni-channel engagement for customers, pre and post purchase."

To better understand the habits of today's changing and empowered consumers, ACCENT surveyed more than 1,000 consumers and 300 retailers throughout the United States. The company looked at consumer and retailer plans, attitudes and preferences around holiday promotions and customer engagement expectations.