Nearly Half of Cyber Monday Shoppers Say a Poor Online Experience Could Keep Them Out of a Retailer’s Physical Store This Holiday

88% of American Consumers Say Gifts Bought Online Are Just As
Heartfelt As Gifts Bought In-Store

CINCINNATI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The latest LoyaltyOne consumer research tells U.S. retailers that
customer service mistakes made with Cyber Monday online shoppers
could lead to significant in-store sales losses in the 2015
holiday gift-buying season.

In LoyaltyOne’s October 2015 nationwide survey of 1,019 American
consumers, nearly half (47%) of Cyber Monday shoppers indicated they’ll
be reluctant to make an in-store holiday season purchase from a retailer
with whom they have an unhappy online experience on the Monday after

When asked: “If I have a poor experience shopping online at a retailer’s
Cyber Monday, I would still shop at the retailer’s physical store,” 30%
of survey takers wouldn’t commit one way or another, 12% said they were
unlikely to shop in-store and 5% said they were very unlikely to shop

Cyber Monday online shoppers represent a significant portion of overall
holiday season shoppers. Nearly eight out of ten LoyaltyOne survey
respondents (78%) said they plan to make Cyber Monday purchases. In the
youngest end of the millennial demographic, 18-24 year-olds, the rate of
Cyber Monday shoppers skyrocketed to 93%. Notably, a retail study
conducted earlier this year by LoyaltyOne with Verde Group, a customer
experience research consultancy, and the Wharton School showed that 14%
of shoppers experience at least one online problem when they shop.

Consumers indicated in this month’s LoyaltyOne survey that a negative in-store
experience would have a somewhat less deterrent effect on their online
shopping behavior. When asked: “If I have a poor experience at a
retailer’s store location, I would still do my holiday shopping at that
retailer’s on-line store,” 22% were neutral, 11% said they’d be unlikely
to shop online with the retailer and 3% said they’d be very unlikely to
shop the retailer online.

In another key finding from the latest survey, American consumers seem
to have relegated to the history books the notion that there is
intrinsic value to trudging to the store to touch and hold just the
right item purchased for the magic gift exchange moment. When asked
about the statement: “I’d be reluctant to tell friends and family that I
purchased a gift online or through a mobile device,” 83% of consumers
said they disagree or strongly disagree.

Even more emphatic, 88% of survey takers said they disagree or strongly
disagree with the sentiment that gifts bought online are NOT as
heartfelt and sincere as gifts bought in a physical store.

Still fashionable and valued by shoppers, apparently, is the encounter
with the charming, knowledgeable, perhaps sympathetic in-store sales
person. Eighty-three percent of consumers said they agree or strongly
agree with the statement: “I think a salesperson who is exceptional can
give a store an advantage.”

“We know that a poor experience can have a negative impact on shopper
spend. This study shows that the online purchase itself is a high-risk
touchpoint,” LoyaltyOne Vice President Dennis Armbruster said.
“Retailers that fail to reduce the risk of an unhappy Cyber Monday
experience could pay a crossover price in the form of lower in-store
sales this year.”

“On-line shoppers react to different problems than those who shop
in-store,” Verde Group President Paula Courtney said. “The value of an
online shopper to a retailer is more negatively impacted by problems
associated with the lack of free shipping, or issues with returns,” she
said. “Online shopper value also is damaged when rewards cards or
coupons cannot be used online, when sales or specials are only available
in the store, and when shoppers cannot use their preferred credit card
or payment type online.”

In other key results from LoyaltyOne’s online holiday-shopping customer
experience survey:

  • Drone delivery of holiday gifts is slow to take off with consumers,
    with 22% saying they would choose drone delivery, if it was available,
    to get an online purchase faster, versus 55% who said they’d be more
    comfortable with traditional shipping methods and 23% who said they
    had no shipment method preference
  • Well over half of consumers (69%) said that if a retailer couldn’t
    guarantee the delivery date of an online purchase, they’d cancel the
    order and place the buy with an online competitor.

Millennials (18-34 years old) demonstrated once again they march to the
beat of a different drummer boy. Here are some of millennials’ sharpest
contrasts with the general population (18 to 65 and over):

  • 48% of 18-24 year-olds and 33% of 25-34 year-olds chose drone delivery
  • 25% of 18-24 year-olds and 27% of 25-34 year-olds said they’d be
    reluctant to tell friends and family they purchased their gifts via
    smartphone, versus 17% of the general population
  • 45% of 18-24 year-olds and 42% of 25-34 year olds said that if
    notified their gift purchase wouldn’t be delivered on time they’d wait
    for the retailer to fulfill the order, versus 30% of the general

The LoyaltyOne survey results are based on an online survey in October
2015 of 1,019 American consumers. The margin of error is +/- 3% at the
90% confidence level.

About LoyaltyOne

LoyaltyOne is a global leader in the design and implementation of
coalition loyalty programs, customer analytics and loyalty services for
Fortune 1000 clients around the world. LoyaltyOne’s unparalleled track
record delivering sustained business performance improvement for clients
stems from its unique combination of hands-on practitioner experience
and continuous thought leadership. LoyaltyOne has over 20 years history
leveraging data-driven insights to develop and operate some of the
world’s most effective loyalty programs and customer-centric solutions.
These include the AIR MILES Reward Program, North America’s premier
coalition loyalty program; a majority stake in European-based
BrandLoyalty, one of the largest and most successful campaign-driven
loyalty marketers outside of the Americas.


For LoyaltyOne
Tim Sansbury or Laura Arnold, 513-231-5115