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Holiday shoppers want a seamless experience


Retailers looking to satisfy customers this holiday season need to be sure all channels are aligned and working properly.

The new "2015 Connected Shoppers Report” of more than 2,000 adults commissioned by Salesforce and conducted by Harris Poll demonstrates that in order to succeed, retailers need to accelerate digital transformations to provide personalized, one-to-one customer journeys.

One key finding shows that many consumers plan to avoid going to physical stores during the holiday season. Leading reasons include crowds (82%), convenience of online shopping and limited parking (48% each), and lack of knowledge/service from seasonal employees (24%).

In addition, nearly half (49%) of respondents find the post-holiday gift return process difficult in stores. Even in dealing with regular store associates, nearly half of in-store shoppers (48%) believe that they typically know more about a retailer's product than the store associate. And while 47% of shoppers continue to ask store associates for their opinions on products, 67% sometimes have doubts around whether associates are telling the truth.

Half of consumers would be more likely to shop at a certain retailer based on the technology store associates use to assist customers. Taking this a step further, more than a quarter of in-store shoppers (28%) agree that robots could replace store associates.

Seamless shopping experiences are also lagging consumer expectations. In-store shoppers want store associates to know what they have previously purchased in the store or online (31%), but only 10% of consumers expect this to actually happen.

Also, more than 80% of consumers research products online before going into a store. But only 33% of respondents have downloaded retailer mobile apps (33%) or see a connection between retailers' online, mobile or in-store channels.

Not surprisingly, millennials ages 18-34 are especially interested in seamless personalization. Thirty-six percent of millennials who shop at stores would like retailers to know who they are when they walk in with location-based technologies. Six in 10 (61%) millennials are willing to disclose their personal data and social media profiles to brands to get better service.

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