Is Black Friday Already Over for Some Retailers?

50 percent of shoppers who had an issue with a retailer have no plans to return for Black Friday or Cyber Monday

Scottsdale, AZNov. 5, 2015—Omnichannel consumers are here, and this holiday season, their expectations will not only affect the impending Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping rush, but also shape how their purchase decisions are made throughout the year. In the new JDA 2015 Consumer Survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers conducted by JDA Software Group, Inc., 50 percent of consumers indicate that they will be unforgiving of retailers who provided less than satisfactory online home delivery experiences, landing some businesses on the do-not-shop, naughty list this holiday season. Additionally, one in three consumers disclosed that convenience is a major factor when placing an online order. Retailers who can’t meet expectations risk losing 33 percent of shoppers to a competitor that offers a more convenient or streamlined shopping experience—not only during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but also in purchase decisions throughout the year.

“The biggest challenge for retailers today is finding the balance between keeping customers content while maintaining profitability to meet their needs in an increasingly omnichannel world,” said Wayne Usie, senior vice president of retail at JDA. “It’s no longer sustainable for businesses to sacrifice profit margins in an effort to deliver customer satisfaction and meet demands. Instead, businesses need to take on a more holistic view of their logistics and fulfillment strategy to make better informed decisions that will not only provide a consistent omnichannel experience to customers, but more importantly, turn a profit.”

Striking that right balance is proving difficult for many retailers, as shoppers’ sentiments throughout the JDA survey were mostly unfavorable of past experiences. These experiences are remembered when customers decide on which retailer to make their future purchases and carry even more weight during the holiday season.

Buy Online, Pick Up in Store May Be Convenient, but Not without Issues

Based on the JDA survey, nearly one in four shoppers opted to buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) as it felt more convenient than home delivery. However, nearly 40 percent of those shoppers experienced an employee-related issue with this service; the most commonly stated issues were that the store staff took a long time or were unable to find their order in the store or store system. These common pitfalls negate the anticipated convenience of the BOPIS services and could land retailers on consumers’ naughty list.

Retailers Who Fail to Meet Customer Needs Lose Out during Peak Shopping Seasons

JDA uncovered results that are predictive of how businesses may fare this Black Friday and Cyber Monday season, based on the customer experience they delivered during the past year. This includes consumers identifying late delivery as the most common issue related to a poor online home delivery experienced in the last 12 months (45 percent). Among this group, 48 percent would be unlikely to shop with the offending retailer during a peak time, such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, displaying a lack of trust in the retailer’s ability to fulfill their needs. This ultimately results in a loss in sales for the retailer during such a highly anticipated spending season.

Shoppers Want What They Want When They Want It and They Don’t Want to Pay

While shoppers expect convenience throughout the retail experience, most are outright unwilling to pay for it, leaving retailers searching for ways to respond to consumer demand and still remain profitable. For 62 percent of online shoppers, their biggest frustration was having to pay for return postage and packaging. In fact, over 50 percent of all shoppers consider the ease of returning items to retailers very important to where they make online purchases, while only about 10 percent view it as not important. It’s also significant to note that Door-Buster Deals are still a major factor for 50 percent of consumers when deciding where to shop for Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday.

Monday Deals, Showing Cost as a Major Driver in Purchasing Decisions

In today’s world of convenience and options, shoppers have little patience for obstacles from retailers that prevent them from obtaining an item. This sentiment holds true across all channels—whether that obstacle is an out-of-stock experience, late home delivery or difficulty obtaining a product at pickup. Retailers must create and deliver a consistent, excellent omnichannel experience to avoid any customer frustrations or they may pay for it during peak shopping season.

“These survey findings speak to the importance of having an omnichannel retail strategy in place, not only during peak shopping seasons such as Black Friday, but also throughout the year. After all, consumers have high expectations on when, where, and how they make and receive their purchases,” said Usie. “In a highly competitive marketplace, it is critical for retailers to intelligently configure their supply chains, and how they use their staff, stores and inventory to fulfill consumers’ orders quickly, while also remaining profitable.”

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