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Consumer Trends

Online shopping expectations for Easter 2014

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With a tough winter loosening its grip, spring has never felt so good – and Easter shoppers are ready to celebrate. According to NRF’s Easter consumer survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, 19 percent of consumers anticipate making some portion of their Easter purchases online, roughly in line with 21 percent who said so last year. One in four of these online Easter shoppers expect to spend more this year than last, while 63 percent anticipate spending about the same as last year. Online Easter shoppers expect to spend an average of $225, or 64 percent more than Easter shoppers overall. Here’s a breakdown of planned purchases:

  • Food – $58.11
  • Clothing – $39.49
  • Gifts – $37.85
  • Candy – $27.65
  • Decorations – $19.35
  • Flowers – $17.87
  • Greeting Cards – $9.60
  • Other items – $15.71

With Easter weekend just around the corner, retailers should capitalize on this shopping occasion by focusing on improving these areas:

Bind together customer touch points: Start with the basics. According to Accenture, half of consumers are imploring retailers to better integrate in-store, online and mobile shopping channels. Online Easter shoppers are among those expecting a seamless shopping experience. Nearly one-third of those surveyed said they plan to use their smartphones to look up retailer information such as store hours and directions. Retailers should ensure that their smartphone home screen points customers directly to these basic functions and do not hide them behind cryptic icons or buried in a menu.

Ensure Easter-themed marketing emails are optimized for mobile.Moveable Ink concluded that U.S. consumers opened 65 percent of marketing emails on mobile devices during the fourth quarter of last year, with nearly half of those opened on smartphones. As obvious as it sounds, retailers are still working on how to optimize emails for the smartphone, from basic optimization to where links take viewers -- hopefully not to the desktop site.

Tablet testing: Invest in optimizing and testing the experience. Over half of online Easter shoppers who own a tablet plan to use the device to research products and compare prices, and 47 percent expect to purchase products directly on their tablets. The problem: tablet experiences may fall short of customer expectations. Keynote found that the same four-step test transaction during the 2013 holiday season took a “snappy” 22.8 seconds to complete on desktop, compared with 32.1 seconds on a smartphone and more than a minute on a tablet. An over-reliance on existing desktop sites in lieu of truly tablet-optimized sites can be to blame. Without adequate tablet optimization and testing, retailers are likely to turn off customers with a sub-par experience, risking immediate and longer term purchases and customer satisfaction.

Effectively market inventory availability and click-and-collect services. As Accenture and Hybris found recently, almost seven in 10 consumers said in-store inventory availability was “critical,” while half also want to be able to pick up their online order right in the store. This means retailers need to think about in-store services that smartphone customers want to know about even before they set foot in the store. The same study found that just one-third of retailers offer these services, ceding significant competitive advantage to retailers who have invested in these areas – and therefore they should also be clearly featured on smartphone and tablet sites.

The full results of the 2014 Easter Online Consumer Shopping Outlook survey are available on the site. For more ideas on planning for Easter and other upcoming shopping occasions such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, download the 2014 Spring Planning Guide: Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.