Wow Your Customers This Holiday Season

December 11th, 2015 Written by: Bryan Eisenberg

We’re in the midst of holiday shopping, so I asked several of my retail industry friends “What would wow you in a retail experience this holiday season?”

Before you check out these responses, please think about your own answer.

I was surprised by the similarities. You might be too.

Joel Comm is a New York Times Best-Selling Author and International Keynote Speaker –

  • “While I am a big fan of privacy, I would like to see retailers put forth more effort to know what I want as a customer and to treat me as an individual instead of just another sale. The more you make me feel like I matter to you, the more likely I am to buy from you. Simple!”

Francesca Nicasio, Retail Expert & Content Strategist, Vend

  • “As a self-confessed last minute shopper, I can’t count the number of times I’ve walked into a store only to leave frustrated because a) the item I wanted to buy was no longer in stock; or b) the store was so disorganized that I couldn’t find what I was looking for.
  • What would wow me is for retailers to address these issues. It would be great if merchants had a better understanding of the things I would want to buy (based on my previous shopping behavior) so they can send relevant suggestions or even reminders if they’re running low on the items that I’m considering. These messages can be sent either via email or even via their mobile app when I walk into a store.
  • Then upon receiving those reminders/suggestions, they can give me the option to purchase it quickly and easily. This could mean implementing a convenient check-out experience (if I’m shopping in their brick-and-mortar location) or giving me the option to pick up the product in-store or have the item delivered, if I’m shopping online.
  • This holiday season, the ultimate “wow factor” for me would be for retailers to know what I want, and then use that information to make my shopping experience quick, easy, and stress-free.”

Terry L Duperon, Retail Brand Development and Sales and Distribution Expert at Retail ProSales

  • “I would love to receive a personalized thank you card with my package when I received it.”

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author.

  • “This holiday season I will be “wowed” if the retailers are properly staffed and I don’t have to spend a lot of time waiting in line.”

Artemis Berry, is vice president of digital retail for and the National Retail Federation.

  • “Wow to me is all about efficiency and experience. I want to be able to pick up the products I’ve ordered online in store without hassle. Sometimes I need to be in and out. Holiday shopping to me is all about the balance of experience, efficiency and the basics. Valet parking doesn’t hurt either.”

Bas van den Beld, digital marketing strategist and speaker

  • “I would definitely be wowed by a more personal experience. It is often extremely difficult to find gifts for loved ones who these days seem to have it all. Of retailers would be able to help me properly with that, it would be awesome. It would have to be good though, not the regular suggestions, but actual useful suggestions based on personalization. A good gift suggestion would wow me and my loved ones!”

Anne Marie StephenCEO + Founder KWOLIA is retail tech strategist and customer experience expert

  • “A WOW retail experience this season? I would say bet big on the basics. A great experience comes down to great product + great service = great experience. How do they get there? Tech is great tool for connected experiences between digital and in-store. Immersive in-store experience create emotional connection.”

Roger Dooley is a speaker and author on Neuromarketing

  • “Giving the shopper a personalized experience will have a powerful “wow” factor. Using beacons and loyalty apps to send personal messages and targeted offers would be one way of doing this. These communications will seem less like interruptions and more like information the shopper actually wants.”

Richard Last, Senior Director of the Global Digital Retailing Research Center, and coordinator of the Digital Retailingdegree program at the University of North Texas. Chairman Emeritus of

  • “For the holiday season, I would love to see truly personalized “omni-channel” experiences shared with me via my iPhone. That is, know me as your customer, know my product and service preferences (for me personally as well as for my gift giving), and provide relevant and compelling offers. Give me choices for fulfilling those offers in the channel I choose, with the payment method I choose, and the deliver time frame and place that I choose. Then, care enough to follow up after holiday with my satisfaction.”

The three common themes in their responses are:

  1. Do you understand me and can you be relevant?
  2. Can you provide me a personalized experience?
  3. Will your operations function seamlessly?

This corresponds with the data presented by IBM.

90% of marketers agree that personalizing the customer experience is critical to their success. Despite this widespread agreement, nearly 80% of consumers stated that the average brand doesn’t understand them as an individual, a joint study by IBM and Econsultancy found.

Understanding customers is the key to personalizing the experience. A Forrester Research study shows that retailers say that their top challenges in omni-channel campaign management are personalizing messages based on behavior across channels. And making adjustments in real time based on new information.

In a StellaService, August 2014 survey of consumers’ holiday expectations, just 5% of respondents said they would shop again at a retailer that gave them bad service during the holidays.

Want to be wowed by your holiday results this season? Aim to wow your customers. For you to achieve your goals, your customers have to achieve their goals first!

Is your retail site exceeding online visitor expectations?

IBM solutions help you engage customers seamlessly across all channels with holistic, actionable omni-channel insights to automate and orchestrate interactions at optimal points. To learn more and to keep up with online retail trends, and read our new influencer eBook featuring additional influencer retail predictions and Insights from Bryan Eisenberg here.

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Anne Marie StephenComment