With Thanksgivingukah around the corner (Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will overlap this year for the first time since 1888), and six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas compared to last year, many consumers won’t wait until Black Friday to begin their holiday shopping.
In an unprecedented move, national retailers including Macy’s and J.C. Penney announced they are opening their doors on Thanksgiving night to accommodate consumers who would rather get a jump-start on shopping than eat more pie.
Despite some conjecture that bricks-and-mortar stores are in danger of becoming showrooms for online-only retailers like Amazon, reports of their death have been greatly exaggerated. Last year, 92% of consumer spending took place in physical stores, and the store is the preferred channel across all ages and household incomes (AT Kearney). However, stores of yesteryear won’t satisfy today’s omni-channel demands; consumers have come to expect a seamless shopping experience across all channels, anytime, anywhere and on any device.
Contrary to fears about showrooming, recent studies dispel the myth that smartphone-toting shoppers visit physical stores to browse the merchandise but intend to buy online. Tech-savvy, connected consumers are more informed than ever before and want to make informed buying decisions—and they’re using smartphones and in-store Wi-Fi to validate their purchase decisions.
According to an Acquity Group study, consumers value in-store Wi-Fi, rich content and mobile experience over loyalty programs. Referring to free in-store Wi-Fi as a worthy investment for retailers, the survey findings revealed that Wi-Fi helps shoppers feel more confident about their purchase decisions.
“In-store Wi-Fi not only allows retailers to keep consumers in store longer, making them more likely to purchase, but also helps tie in the consistent user experience across channels that today’s consumers expect,” said Chip Knicker, Vice President of eCommerce at Acquity Group, part of Accenture Interactive.
Ditto, we second that motion and couldn’t agree more!