For Valentine’s Day, the online shopping experience trumps value

Customer Management

During the 2013 holiday season, major retailers tripped head over heels to launch sales and give their customers the lowest prices possible. Many brands even admitted after the fact that they struggled to achieve profit margins because of heavy discounting during the last two months of the year. Although Valentine’s Day is a very different holiday, a new study from PriceGrabber found that on Feb. 14, many shoppers are actually more concerned about the quality of the online shopping experience more than they are about cost.

That’s not to say Valentine’s Day shoppers don’t care at all about sales – these remain an important asset retailers can use to differentiate themselves from competitors. However, it should illustrate to merchants that consumers do value factors other than the dollar, such as the online shopping experience.

Many Valentine’s Day shoppers are actually more concerned about the quality of the online shopping experience more than they are about the cost.

Furthermore, Valentine’s Day is as important a holiday as any, with the National Retail Federation expecting Americans to spend $17.3 billion on candy, flowers, jewelry and other gifts, so it’s crucial that retailers offer their customers a valuable online shopping experience this year.

Quality over cost, according to customers
PriceGrabber asked shoppers how they planned to shop this Feb. 14. More than two-thirds of customers (69 percent) said they will shop at brick-and-mortar stores, while 46 percent will do so via their laptops and 19 percent on mobile devices.

Regardless of how customers planned to shop this Valentine’s Day, there was one consistency across the board: Deals weren’t the driving factor. For example, 53 percent said they liked shopping in physical retail stores because they valued the ability to see the product in person before buying it.

It is important for retailers to keep in mind that evolving technologies and shifting consumer shopping behaviors, which include pre-purchase online research through multiple devices, continue to play a dynamic and ongoing consideration in today’s retail environment.

Fifty-nine percent of people chose the Internet because it was more convenient for them: they can shop from the comfort of their own homes. Only 4 percent went to brick-and-mortar stores for deals, while 36 percent of online shoppers said the same.

“Consumers don’t always buy based on the lowest price. Brand loyalty and product features matter, as do merchant ratings and ease of purchase,” said Sharon Banfield, director of public relations at PriceGrabber.  “It is important for retailers to keep in mind that evolving technologies and shifting consumer shopping behaviors, which include pre-purchase online research through multiple devices, continue to play a dynamic and ongoing consideration in today’s retail environment.”

Retailers should keep this in mind as they approach any major sales period, whether it’s Valentine’s Day, back-to-school, the holidays or anything in between. Streamlining eCommerce operations to create a better online shopping experience is key.

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