Providing a good customer experience both online and off will be a case of do-or-die for retailers this holiday season, a new study shows. Online, 60 percent of consumers said they shop more often at particular websites because of a good shopping experience marked by good customer service, and 50 percent of bricks-and-mortar shoppers said they shop more at specific retail stores because of the good customer experience they offer.
The downside of a bad customer experience is especially telling in the bricks-and-mortar world, the study showed. Nearly a third (29 percent) of shoppers said they have stopped shopping at a specific retail store because of a bad shopping experience. The study, which was released by MarketTools, an enterprise-feedback-management and research company, sampled the opinions of more than 500 U.S. adults 21 or older.
But online is only marginally less plagued by bad customer experience. The study showed that nearly a quarter of online shoppers stopped shopping at a site because of a bad customer experience.
The primary factor for avoiding certain brick-and-mortar retail stores is unhelpful/unfriendly sales personnel (71 percent), followed by long lines or long wait time (41 percent) and quality issues with merchandise (39 percent).
The main reasons shoppers cited for no longer returning to a shopping website were quality issues with the merchandise or damaged merchandise (46 percent), high shipping costs (43 percent) and shipping problems (37 percent).
What's more, 84 percent of respondents said they read reviews posted online by other consumers before purchasing a product, signaling the trend that social channels are increasingly influencing purchase decisions.
"The retailers who capture and analyze feedback from their customers to understand the drivers of a good shopping experience will reap the rewards this holiday shopping season," said Greg Marek, vice president of corporate marketing at MarketTools, Inc. "With many retailers counting on the holiday shopping season to bring in a sizeable percentage of their annual sales, it is critical that they obtain the customer feedback necessary to provide an enjoyable shopping experience, and ultimately increase sales through repeat business and referrals."