Forrester is predicting that this holiday season, Americans will spend 15% more online than they did last year, with mobile and tablet options leading to increasingly fussy shoppers. The challenge for retailers is understanding that while consumers are always motivated to find a better deal online, they are also looking for more than the best price. So extras like free store pickup, price matching, and mobile optimization will all make a difference this year, writes analyst Sucharita Mulpuru in the report.
“While price is critical, retail eBusiness executives must look to add value elsewhere in the customer purchase funnel to retain customers,” she writes. “Ensuring that critical content is available (and tested) on mobile devices will be imperative this holiday season, as consumers will continue to use mobile devices for product research and even for buying.”
Price is still the leading reason a shopper moves from one site to another, with 85% of consumers saying it’s critical. But Forrester reports that lower shipping costs (61%), in-stock products (41%), coupons and promotions (34%) all play a role. The report predicts that as consumers continue to weigh all factors, they will be harder to impress, “as aggressive promotions, discounts, and free shipping have become holiday table stakes.”
For m-commerce, mobile optimized features such as express checkout are also increasingly part of shopper expectation. Forrester
estimates that by the end of the year, 135 million American adults will have smartphones, and 60 million will have tablets. (And 18% use their phone to shop, as do 24% of tablet owners.) But she adds
that the “value of mobile extends far beyond the transaction, as consumers
more frequently use those devices to research a product than to buy it.”
In addition to hunting for deals and free shipping, Forrester expects consumers to be as committed to shopping on key days, including Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That makes it tough for retailers to stand out. “In 2011, 76% of the top 50 online retailers called out holiday promotions prominently on their home pages; furthermore, 50% of those retailers highlighted some sort of free shipping promotion,” it says.