Clicks love calls – why retailers must man the phones this Valentines Day
Today we launch the results of a survey we’ve just carried out looking at consumer attitudes to shopping this Valentine’s Day. We polled 2,000 UK consumers and found that, even in a world where shopping is increasingly carried out online, people still really value the tried and tested phone call, especially when leaving their purchases until the last minute.
This means online retailers – especially those in London – should prepare for an influx of calls this week as over half (53%) of UK shoppers say they need to talk before placing last minute Valentine’s gift orders. In the capital, this rises to over two-thirds (65%) of shoppers.
At least £9861 million will be spent on Valentine’s gifts this year, with two thirds2 leaving it to the last week. A third of all purchases are now made online3, yet more than half (50%) of Valentine’s Day shoppers would be more likely to buy from an online retailer that clearly displays a phone number for them to call to and ask questions about their purchase.
Top reasons for a call include consumers wanting to check the retailer is bona-fide, and that their gift will arrive on time, avoiding them ending up in the doghouse.
Our research also revealed that consumers are much more likely to talk to retailers when buying certain Valentine’s Day gifts;
1. Meal in a restaurant
2. Weekend breaks / holidays
4. Cinema / theatre tickets
5. Perfume / makeup/ aftershave
We know from our previous ‘Off the grid” research that 64% of people get frustrated when they’re only able to interact with a company online and that 54% of people want the reassurance of some human interaction before completing a sale.
As a result, retailers could be missing out on potential revenues by not keeping track of entire customer journeys across both on-and-offline channels. Phone calls still play a vital role in how consumers shop online, yet the second a customer picks up the phone they are ‘off the grid’ for most companies.
Retailers have to understand more about who is calling them, and when and why they are calling them, if they are to accurately attribute sales and make informed decisions about their marketing spend.
Our research revealed some more interesting insights:
• Men are more likely to pick up the phone when making a Valentines purchase than women, especially when it comes to choosing flowers, when over a quarter call to buy (26%)
• The London man is most likely to need help on the phone when purchasing a Valentine’s Day gift
• 18% of men say this is to avoid ending up in the dog house, compared to just 10% of women
• Men are also more likely than women to buy from a retailer that displays a phone number – over 50%
• A quarter of respondents (25%) are re-assured that an online retail in bona-fide if they display a phone number
• Londoners are also the most likely to buy from a site with a clearly displayed phone number (57%)
• Londoners are the most likely to call about a range of Valentines products – (avg 34%) with restaurants top of the list (45% call)
1 OnePoll, February 2013
2 Facebook, February 2014
3 Exact Abacus, February 2013