Survey results reveal what matters most to online shoppers this holiday season

December 06 2022
 

Digital experience is now as important as low prices for consumers, and pressure is on retailers to deliver incredible application performance.


Research published today by Cisco AppDynamics reveals the importance online shoppers are attaching to seamless digital experiences as they hunt down great deals during the holiday period.

78% of consumers regard the experience they get when using a shopping app as equally important as the deals on offer during seasonal sales and key shopping dates such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Singles Day. While 73% claim it doesn’t matter how good the deals are that retailers offer, there is still no excuse for poor online shopping experiences.

The findings serve as a timely reminder for retailers about the importance of application availability and performance at a time when they are looking to take advantage of heightened demand during what is, by far and away, the busiest time of year for most brands.

Consumers are relying on holiday deals to make their money go further

While it is now common for online shoppers to wait until key shopping dates and holiday season sales to take advantage of discounts and low-cost deals, the stakes are raised in the current environment, where so many people are facing financial pressures. As many as 95% of consumers state that it is more important for them to find great deals and low prices this year due to rising costs of living and the uncertain economic outlook.

Whether buying gifts for family and friends, food and beverages for holiday celebrations or household essentials, consumers are determined to find the lowest possible prices over the coming weeks. But alongside these great deals, people also want world-class digital experiences.

Zero tolerance for poor digital experiences this holiday season

The research, conducted amongst more than 12,000 consumers in 12 countries, highlights how consumer expectations for digital experience are even higher than usual. 95% of people state that it is important that apps and digital services provide a fast and seamless experience without any delays or disruption.

As online shoppers scramble to find the best deals, they simply don’t have the time or patience to deal with poorly performing applications, and they react strongly when they encounter any issues. 63% of consumers claim that if the applications and digital services they will use to find great deals this holiday season fail to perform, it will leave them feeling anxious and angry.

It may be the season of goodwill, but online shoppers are unwilling to forgive and forget any retailer that fails to provide a seamless digital experience. 64% of consumers state that retail brands will have one shot to impress them this holiday season, and if their digital service or application does not perform well, they won’t use it again.

Interestingly, this figure has risen from 57% since we conducted our App Attention Index research last year, indicating how digital experience grows more critical when people are attaching such huge importance to securing great deals.

In this high-pressure environment, there are no second chances for retailers. At the first sign of a problem while using an app, almost three-quarters of their customers will turn their back and walk away, possibly never to return.

Retailers need modern, cloud native observability solutions to drive digital experience and maximize the holiday season opportunity

The need to focus on application availability and performance during the holiday season is nothing new for IT teams in retail organizations. Technologists are accustomed to working round the clock at this time of year to ensure that applications and supporting infrastructure are able to cope with dramatic spikes in demand.

However, managing IT availability and performance has become increasingly challenging as retailers have accelerated their adoption of cloud native technologies such as microservices and Kubernetes to support wider digital transformation goals.

Modern application architectures are enabling technologists to increase the speed of innovation, but building apps in cloud native environments makes it more challenging for IT teams to optimize availability and performance. Technologists find themselves managing hugely complex cloud native application architectures but are often unable to get visibility and insight into their applications and infrastructure running on public clouds.

IT teams, therefore, need a cloud native observability solution to manage increasingly complex and dynamic applications and technology stacks. This solution needs to operate alongside existing traditional on-premise environments to enable health monitoring of key business transactions distributed across their entire technology landscape.

With real-time insights from the business transaction telemetry data, technologists can swiftly pinpoint the root cause of issues and expedite resolution so applications operate at peak performance at all times.

Retail leaders will be eager to take advantage of heightened consumer demand during the holiday period, ahead of what is likely to be a challenging year ahead. But they must recognize that low prices on their own aren’t enough to drive success. Only by combining great deals with seamless digital experiences will they be in a position to win new customers and drive sales.

James Harvey is Executive CTO EMEA at Cisco AppDynamics. He is responsible for setting the AppDynamics regional product strategy. His overarching role is to advise and help organizations better understand their business needs and realize the value and benefits of full-stack observability with business context. He joined AppDynamics in 2018.

James has more than 20 years of experience in the tech field, having held senior IT leadership positions at various companies in different sectors like banking (Royal Bank of Scotland and ABN AMRO Bank), retail (New Look) and oil (BP).