“There’s incredible opportunity for retailers to differentiate by providing customer-centric digital experiences”
Amazon is near its tipping point for holiday sales with 42% of online shoppers expecting to purchase all or most of their gifts via the marketplace this year according to Episerver, the customer-centric digital experience company. Despite Amazon’s status as a top destination for gift buying, survey data suggests its lacking in areas retailers can capitalize.
For its report “Holiday Online Shopping Trends 2019: Retailers Win with Customer Centricity,” Episerver surveyed more than 4,500 global online shoppers to learn about their holiday shopping habits and to identify best practices for retail marketers and merchandisers to earn customers’ attention and action. For example, while a third (32%) of online shoppers start their holiday shopping on Amazon, followed by Google, not all product categories are created equal. More consumers turn to a retailer’s website first for apparel shopping (43%) than Amazon (30%) or Google (29%) due to more complete content via the brand versus a marketplace or search engine. With apparel the category most often researched in-store (25 percent) before making a purchase online, it is clear retailers can provide richer online content to fill the content gap Amazon created. Retailers’ websites remain the single source of truth as a quarter of shoppers (26%) say they enjoy a brand or retailer’s site for its product information more so than any other shopping channel.
“It’s no secret Amazon is a leader in digital commerce, and its popularity continues to grow,” said Ed Kennedy, senior director of commerce at Episerver. “Despite priding itself on customer-obsession, Amazon still lacks in areas like product education, inspirational content and fanatical customer service. There’s incredible opportunity for retailers to differentiate by providing customer-centric digital experiences that mirror face-to-face interactions through gift-giving suggestions, personalized messaging and a human approach to the holidays.”
Retailers may have more time to prepare than they think as Episerver’s survey shows the highest number of shoppers (21 percent) start their holiday shopping December 1-15 versus any other period in Q4. Consumers are evidently not worried about shipping delays with a third (31 percent) of online shoppers expecting two-day shipping, year-round.
Other key findings from the report include:
- Sixty-eight percent of online shoppers often or always compare what they find on a brand or website to what’s available on Amazon.
- Traffic from social to ecommerce websites has doubled in the first half of 2019 compared to 2017 and 2018, opening the door for retailers to tune up their social content where Amazon is less mature.
- The majority of holiday shoppers (39%) prefer to do most of their shopping online but a third of online shoppers (31%) expect the ability to make purchases online and pick them up in store.