Salesforce [NYSE: CRM], the global leader in CRM, released its new consumer insights and predictions for the 2017 holiday shopping season. Salesforce anticipates that Black Friday will be the busiest digital shopping day in U.S. history, exceeding Cyber Monday as the U.S. digital shopping day with the most sales for the second year in a row.
Salesforce combined insights on the activity of 500 million global shoppers across 53 countries and billions of transactions powered by Commerce Cloud; millions of public social media conversations analyzed through Marketing Cloud; and data from Salesforce’s annual Connected Shoppers Report to give retailers the intelligence they need to drive their businesses forward.
Top Five Salesforce 2017 Holiday Season Predictions and Insights:
Holiday shopping stretches late into evenings and into the season:
The most popular online shopping time for website visits and orders is from 8pm to 10pm.
Consumers will only have 50 percent of their holiday shopping completed by Sunday, Dec. 3rd and 80 percent completed by Friday, Dec. 15th.
Cyber Week (Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday) will see both the deepest discounts (average of 28 percent off list price) and highest rate of free shiping (86 percent of all orders will have it). Beyond Cyber Week, Monday, Dec. 11th will have the deepest discounts and highest availability of free shipping.
Mobile continues to eclipse desktop traffic:
Mobile traffic to retail sites will grow to 60 percent of total across the globe this shopping season (compared to 34 percent for desktop and five percent for tablets), while orders placed on phones will approach 40 percent on big shopping days such as Black Friday.
Meanwhile, 7 to 10 percent of all iPhone orders will go through Apple Pay.
While 28 percent of consumers say they would buy products from an online retailer via SMS/text, only 16 percent have received a SMS/text or push notification with an offer or communication from a brand while in or near the brand’s physical store location.
Consumers still use many digital channels to research products:
The most used channels for research before buying online include website (74 percent), email (43 percent), social media (38 percent) and a retailer’s mobile apps (36 percent).
Just as interesting is the embrace of voice-enabled digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Assistant, used by 40 percent of millennials (ages 18-36) to research merchandise before buying online.
More than half of consumers (58 percent) think that store associates need the ability to look up product details on-demand on a mobile device in order to help deliver an excellent customer experience.
Millennials expect more personalized experiences as AI matures:
Over a third of millennials (35 percent) say the ability to search merchandise in a physical store or online catalog using an image and receiving product recommendations based on the attributes of that image would be appealing.
Millennials are also 2.5 times more likely (28 percent vs. 11 percent) than baby boomers (ages 53-71) to say personalized digital offers from retailers based on their purchasing history would appeal to them.
Retailers are struggling to meet shopper desires for a seamless and smart retail experience:
Despite a desire for more personalized experiences, 63 percent of consumers feel like retailers don’t truly know who they are.
In addition, 61 percent believe that in order to help deliver an excellent customer experience, store associates need visibility into all available inventory at other stores or warehouses if an item is out of stock.
Fifty-nine percent of millennials feel it would help if physical stores knew about their online research before they arrive at a store so they could receive better service, yet 61 percent agree that retail experiences are disconnected from channel to channel.