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46% of shoppers will ditch retailers if apps crash this Black Friday

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Tech challenges, one-time buyers, and lockdown preparations; Emarsys research reveals how UK retailers are preparing for a challenging Black Friday ahead.

Almost half (46%) of Brits will stop shopping with a retailer altogether if its mobile app crashes this Black Friday. That’s according to new research from Emarsys, which examines UK consumer shopping turn-offs ahead of Black Friday.

Despite many consumers being turned off by poor mobile experiences, only 19% of British retailers see mobile apps as their key commerce channel this sales season, with many failing to prioritise the app-based shopping experience.

Calling on data from over 1,000 UK shoppers, Emarsys’ survey reveals other major turn offs including having to pay for returns (43%) and poor customer service (38%). Conversely, the biggest motivator for shopping online during Black Friday is the size of the discounts, with over half (58%) seeing low prices as an attractive incentive. This was followed by a desire for fast shipping, with almost half (47%) seeing this as an important aspect. 

Black Friday 2021 is set to be another strong year for online retail traffic, with 43% of British consumers planning to shop solely online. This push for ecommerce is also being driven by ongoing concerns around COVID-19, with 71% of retail marketers in the UK actively encouraging customers to shop online rather than in-store this Black Friday. A further 40% are even considering cancelling their physical Black Friday events due to COVID-19.

Most retail marketers have shown forethought when it comes to the busy final retail quarter, with 66% having put a contingency plan in place in the case of further COVID-19 lockdowns over Black Friday and Christmas.

Faced with these potential disruptions, Emarsys is advising retailers to see Black Friday not as a one-off sales event, but as an opportunity to build longer term customer loyalty. 

As Payal Hindocha, Director Customer Engagement Solutions GTM at Emarsys explains: “It’s encouraging to see that many retail marketers have contingency plans in place just in case of further lockdowns during this upcoming festive period. However, it’s vital to remember how consumers want to shop and the pinch points that might cause them to look elsewhere or switch to a different brand altogether.

“When it comes to the purchase and post-purchase experience online, consumer expectations are higher than ever. Offering a discount might reel the customer in, but it won’t encourage them to stick around if the online experience does not meet their expectations. That’s why retail marketers need to focus on their most loyal customers this Black Friday. In the face of potential supply chain issues, it’s vital that retailers prioritise their most loyal customers ahead of those searching for a one-off bargain. 

“This Black Friday will be an unmissable opportunity for brands to create memorable and positive experiences that drive lasting loyalty, while collecting meaningful data that helps them to better understand new and existing customers through the busy holiday season, into the January sales, and beyond.”

Some UK retailers are already taking this advice, with 17% saying that they also plan on entering customers into a loyalty program as part of their promotions.

To find out more about gaining and retaining customers after the Black Friday spike, check out Emarsys’ full Black Friday report here. Or, for more on the role of loyalty in retail, check out Emarsys’ Loyalty Index 2021

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