Why customer experience matters on Cyber Monday

Digital Marketing, IBM Analytics, IBM

When do US consumers spend the most time and money buying items online? That’s right—on Cyber Monday. And the trend shows no sign of abating. In 2014, Cyber Monday online sales were up 8.7 percent from sales in 2013. If you’re like many Americans, you’ll purchase something during the biggest sale of the year—whether you fight the crowds in person, browse your tablet from the local coffee shop or remain in the comfort of your own home.

Are your customers waiting in line?

The rush to grab the deal is becoming an ever more intense contest. During Thanksgiving week, I find my inbox flooded with pre-pre-sales notices urging me to get it now—before supplies run out. Really—run out? And the sale hasn’t even started yet?

Before long, I find myself looking for leaked Black Friday flyers, caught up in researching where I should be and what I should be buying. Indeed, many retailers have begun pushing their Thanksgiving week deals online the week before Cyber Monday—even the week after. This lengthening of the sales window poses a dilemma to customers: Is this as low as the price will get? Should I buy it now, or should I wait for a lower price—but risk missing out?

When I do decide to take advantage of a “once-in-a-lifetime” savings event, another question also faces me. Much like a campout shopper waiting overnight, I wonder whether the virtual shelves will be full by the time I reach them—or will they have already run out? And, like a shopper trying to crowd through a store door, as I pick up my iPad to start shopping, I wait. However, I am not waiting to grab a parking space; nor am I 75 people deep in a checkout line. Instead, I wait as heavy online traffic slows down what is usually a quick and predictable shopping experience, diminishing the superior customer experience for which I stayed home on Cyber Monday.

Does your online experience bring customers back?

In October 2015, when loyalty service company Loyalty One surveyed 1,019 American consumers nationwide, 47 percent of Cyber Monday shoppers expressed their reluctance to make an in-store holiday season purchase from a retailer at whose online store they have had a less than satisfactory Cyber Monday shopping experience. Let that sink in—consumers have become so dedicated to the online shopping experience that having a bad time shopping online can keep them out of the physical store as well. And with smartphones driving 28.5 percent of online shopping traffic on Cyber Monday, communications service providers (CSPs) as well as retailers must take note.

Advanced analytics can proactively shed light on telecommunications customer network activity across locations, devices and applications, allowing retailers and CSPs to cut down on churn and avoid the expense of customer service calls. With the help of the data-driven insights that result, retailers can enhance the customer experience and, together with their CSP, offer a compelling customer experience that not only attracts customers but retains them.

This Black Friday and Cyber Monday, find out how IBM Customer Experience Analytics and Proactive Care can help you make the most of the valuable customer insights waiting within your network.