Parking, long wait times, travel delays and smartphones are expected to challenge the Holiday spirit
New York, USA and London, United Kingdom - December 18, 2014:
Nearly three-fourths of the 2,000 consumers surveyed across the US and UK prefer convenience over price as the key reason why they would shop online this holiday, according to research from Wipro Digital, the digital transformation business of Wipro Ltd (NYSE: WIT). More than 60% of consumers expect to do their holiday shopping online, up 10 percentage points from the 50% seen in 2013.
"The large number of consumers choosing convenience over price as their top reason for shopping online is a reminder that brands need to compete on experience not just price," said Avinash Rao, Global Head, Wipro Digital. "This Holiday Season, it looks as if physical stores have not yet done enough to draw consumers into their stores. Improving the in-store experience, for example by offering virtual wardrobes side-by-side with displays, could give consumers a reason to reverse the trend of shopping more online. Either way, businesses which can deliver experiences based on deep insight into customer journeys will stand out," Rao went on to say.
Nearly 50% of consumers, of the 2,000 who were surveyed, report they will do both their research and buying online. Neither "Showrooming" nor "webrooming" are expected to be common this season with less than 5% of consumers reporting that they will research in-store and buy online or research online and buy in store. However, consumers haven't abandoned physical stores entirely: over 80% want to be able to match an in-store promotion when shopping online, but six in 10 consumers expect difficulty in doing that.
According to consumers, there are not enough reasons or incentives to shop in-store. Less than 10% think prices are more competitive in-store or that the sales staff is knowledgeable and only slightly more believe physical stores provide a more personalized experience. Parking is another disincentive with nearly half expecting to have trouble finding parking space.
However, shipping charges have the potential to drive more people back to the store, particularly in the US where this is seen as a larger concern with online shopping. Shipping costs are particularly a barrier for consumer goods companies selling direct to consumers who don't want to pay for shipping.
"While we see an increase in online shopping at this time of year, people are still looking for the best ways to combine online and offline experiences," says Rao. "Brands that can peel apart all the interactions that form a customer journey and offer what customers want are the ones who will succeed not only this holiday but going forward."
Convenience continues to play a part of the Holiday travel experience. While a majority (56%) expects inevitable weather delays while travelling, a large majority of consumers prefer to communicate with their travel provider via text or email, including rebooking. Only one fourth of travellers are happy to call a toll-free number to rebook. Perhaps that's due to an expected wait time of nearly 20 minutes, as seen through the survey.
On the other hand, half of consumers do not mind calling a toll-free number if it's for technical support with a new mobile phone. But for those consumers receiving a new mobile device around the Holiday time, less than one third think it will be easy to transfer data between devices. This Holiday Season, smartphones are expected to make up 80% of mobile device purchases. At the same time, over 30% of consumers stick with their current plan or device out of fear of challenges in making a switch.
The research also found that mobile payments are not expected to be a common payment method this Season with less than 5% using them – which is the same proportion of people using checks. However, that represents an increase from last year of nearly one fourth of consumers. Online banking increases during the Holiday Season according to one third of those taking part. For those going into a branch (less than 30%), the main reason is to get fresh and crisp bills to give as gifts.
Looking ahead, consumers are expecting to wait an average of 20 minutes in line when returning a product at a store. If given the option to return a gift online, nearly 80% favor this if they can get an immediate credit. But if they have to wait to receive their credit, this drops by half.
"As we approach this Holiday Season, we can see that customers have little patience for brands which can't offer a joined up end-to-end experience. When customers expect to move seamlessly across touch-points, the only way to enable that is to have agile, customer-centered processes and platforms and to digitize their operations," Rao said. "Reimaging how the customer journey is engineered to serve the customer's reality is a powerful method to reshape the organization around the customer. It results in the creation of breakthrough digital experiences, where the customer will want to self-serve."
This Pre Holiday Consumer Survey is based on 2,000 online respondents in the US and UK of ages 18-50 polled from December 8-10, 2014. Wipro Digital will conduct a Post-Holiday Consumer Survey in January 2015 to compare expectations with actual experiences.
About Wipro Digital
Wipro Digital collaborates with clients to deliver customer-centered digital transformation. Working at the intersection of strategy, design and technology, we derive insight, shape interaction, drive integration and unlock innovation for our clients. Drawing on 150,000 employees across Wipro, we engineer extraordinary experiences for global brands, businesses and their customers at scale. Learn more at wiprodigital.com or @WiproDigital.
About Wipro Ltd.
Wipro Ltd. (NYSE:WIT) is a leading information technology, consulting and business process services company that delivers solutions to enable its clients do business better. Wipro delivers winning business outcomes through its deep industry experience and a 360 degree view of "Business through Technology" - helping clients create successful and adaptive businesses. A company recognized globally for its comprehensive portfolio of services, a practitioner's approach to delivering innovation, and an organization wide commitment to sustainability, Wipro has a workforce of over 150,000, serving clients in 175+ cities across 6 continents. For more information, please visit www.wipro.com
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