New Study Emphasizes 3 Areas Retailers Should Focus on for the Holidays—and Beyond

'Tis the season

87% of shoppers start their search digitally. - Credit by Source: Getty Images
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

Salesforce really wants brands to strategize for the most wonderful time of the year all year long.

In a new report, titled Shopper-First Retailing, the CRM powerhouse, along with Publicis.Sapient, asked 6,000 shoppers in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany and Australia about their shopping habits, which Salesforce believes can be a boon to retailers and brands for the holiday season.

Ahead is a breakdown of some of the more noteworthy data points.

New inventory is a draw for customers

According to the report, a nice amount of shoppers—69 percent—expect new items when they either visit a store or website, and 75 percent of site searches are new every month.

So, while having best-selling products counts, getting a consumer in the door (whether it’s physical or not), with new items can go a long way, especially when factoring in that 50 percent of first-time buys are made with retailers and 47 percent move on to marketplaces like Amazon or eBay for a secondary purchase.

“Retailers are struggling to retain market share and line share on that repeat and ongoing purchase,” said Rob Garf, vp, industry strategy and insights for Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

One area where retailers can capitalize: in-store experience, as 46 percent of people said they’d still rather shop in a store. While 71 percent reported they’d rather leave a store with a product, 82 percent are OK if the item is out of stock but shipped within 24 hours.

“The store still plays a significant and important role in the shopping process,” Garf said.

Personalization and purpose matter to the consumer

Despite the many ongoing privacy issues that various tech companies are facing, consumers welcome personalization, with 38 percent of “all digital revenue” influenced by it.

However, 64 percent of shoppers don’t believe retailers understand who they are and how they shop. But, if personalization is done right, the survey notes, it can lead to a 4.5 times higher cart rate (i.e., when consumers are creating new shopping carts) and five times higher per-visit spend. The report points to the Sephora app, where consumers can take a variety of quizzes to get the right fragrance or skincare and more, as well get an in-store experience on the app.

However, not all is lost; 68 percent of respondents think retailers are increasing their abilities to pick the right products to go with someone’s tastes and 84 percent who received personalized promotions “are interested” in receiving them again.

Whether it’s a loyalty program or charitable part of the company, consumers want more of it, with 45 percent of shoppers “more likely” to shop from brands that offer a donation as part of their purchase and 66 percent more willing to buy from a company with a loyalty program.

Voice isn’t quite there yet

The data in this study shows that voice commerce isn’t quite a dominating force among consumers (yet) but it’s picking up speed. Though only 12 percent of shoppers are “interested” in using voice to order a product, in the past three months, 70 percent of smart speaker owners have used a voice assistant “at least” once in something shopping-related.

Garf points out that it’s usually a question of “Where’s my order?” but it’s still an area retailers are thinking about.

“Voice is, in our view, the next user interface,” Garf said.

@itstheannmarie Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.