A short, enjoyable shopping experience is important to consumers
Although price, shipping and other factors are important parts of the shopping experience, but they are not the only elements merchants should consider. When price matching and free shipping become increasingly common options among retailers, finding another differentiation point can be critical to winning over consumers.
Based on recent findings from The Integer Group, that point of difference may be influenced by the gender of the customer. Price and item quality are the two main concerns for men and women, but the values they rank after those two considerations are nearly contradictory to each other. For male respondents, the ability to get in and out of the store is an important factor in when and where they shop. Because of this, many men will be shopping online this holiday season, rather than braving the crowds on Black Friday or afterward. To provide the best experience possible for those men that do visit brick-and-mortar locations, though, retailers should offer a seamless experience that smoothly ushers them from the aisle to the point of sale with as few obstacles as possible.
Meanwhile, female respondents stated that they are more interested in having an enjoyable shopping experience. According to Integer, they want to immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere that surrounds some stores during the holiday shopping season. Meeting this desire is more nebulous than trying to speed the shopping process, but minimizing frustration through excellent customer service can encourage customers' overall goodwill.
Ecommerce continues rising in prominence
Another differentiating point for merchants this holiday season will be the robustness of their ecommerce options. Integer found that more consumers will be spending their time with online retailers, rather than visiting mass merchants or department stores. While visits to these two types of locations combined beat out ecommerce on its own, the Web-based shopping option otherwise dominates much of the next few weeks. Brick-and-mortar retail still reigns on Black Friday and for last-minute purchases, but on Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving weekend and throughout December, Integer found that most customers will be spending more time shopping online than in stores.
Notably, this number does not account for how much customers will purchase through ecommerce, but the channel's convenience and utility as a research tool is affecting consumer buying habits.
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