Tips and Tricks · 5 min read

4 ways to improve your holiday shopping experience, according to consumers

The Fullstory Team
Posted August 11, 2023
4 ways to improve your holiday shopping experience, according to consumers

4 survey takeaways that retailers need to know this holiday season

Turn on nearly any holiday movie and you’re likely to see a scene where a harried person races from store to store doing last-minute shopping. Whether it's gifts, groceries, or party favors, a stress-inducing race against the clock to get that last item on the list seems to be a staple of the holiday shopping experience. 

But by anticipating customer needs and providing an excellent digital experience, online retailers can remove the characteristic stress and frustration from the holiday shopping process. And as more and more people conduct their shopping online, offering a seamless buying experience is increasingly important. 

In fact, nearly 85% of consumers say that a great digital experience is as or more important than a great in-store experience. Plus, 44% of shoppers say they don’t even care what site they buy from, “as long as it works.” 

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These stats show that online retailers’ ability to predict and meet customer expectations will be the difference between a conversion and an abandonment this holiday shopping season. Based on Fullstory survey data, here are the answers to four critical questions ecommerce companies are asking ahead of the holidays. 

1. An item is out of stock. What should I do? 

Supply chain shortages, shipping delays, and myriad other factors mean that low inventory on certain items is inevitable this holiday season. While this isn’t ideal for shoppers, there are some things retailers can do to soften the out-of-stock blow. 

The top thing consumers want is for the retailer to show alternative items that are in stock (66% of respondents). For bonus points, 60% of respondents say they would like retailers to communicate early, alerting them that an item is out of stock or won’t arrive in time before they add it to their cart. 


  • 51% of consumers would like the option to be notified when their desired item becomes available again

  • 43% want retailers to remove out-of-stock items from promotional materials and search results 

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The key here is communication. If your business is experiencing low inventory, let your customers know as soon as possible, and recommend similar products when possible. 

2. What’s the top issue I should prioritize fixing before the holidays? 

Your ecommerce website is a complex organism. Bugs, glitches, and otherwise imperfect experiences happen, and you can’t address every single one of them at once. You need to prioritize based on impact. 

With that in mind, we asked consumers which common site issues they find the most frustrating when shopping online. Here’s a list of the top five issues that frustrate shoppers to determine which fixes should be at the top of your to-do list. 

  1. Slow page loading (72%)

  2. Loading errors (63%)

  3. Dead links or buttons (46%)

  4. Broken forms (39%)

  5. Page glitches (38%)

Need more guidance? Here are five ways to improve your ecommerce experience.

3. Is the mobile experience really that important? 

The short answer: Yes. The amount of transactions that take place via mobile device—from ordering takeout to banking to booking flights—has rapidly accelerated with the rise of smartphones

And holiday shopping is no exception. According to our survey, 81% of consumers say they do at least some of their holiday shopping from their phone, and 58% say that at least half of their holiday shopping will be conducted via mobile device. 

The implications of this data become clear when we consider the fact that 46% of consumers report running into more issues when shopping on their phones than when shopping on desktop. 

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The takeaway, of course, is that retailers who focus on offering an optimized, user-friendly mobile shopping experience will set themselves apart from the competition in the eyes of the customer.

4. How do I know what customers think of my site? 

Survey data shows that a startling 64% of consumers will leave a site without finishing their purchase if they encounter a digital experience issue. That’s an alarming statistic even before adding the fact that most (57%) won’t leave feedback for the retailer on what went wrong. 

To find out what’s causing those cart abandonments, you need to look at what your customers do rather than waiting to hear what they say. Actual user behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, which is why those that build digital experiences need qualitative insights to reveal a treasure trove of information that standard product metrics cannot.  

For example, 72% of consumers say they’ve Rage Clicked on a site or app when it didn’t work properly. And since we already know that most of those folks won’t leave explicit feedback, learning about frustration in that way is a big step in the right direction. 

By simply monitoring frustration signals (like Rage Clicks, Dead Clicks, Error Clicks, and more) on your most important pages, you can quickly find find those “low-hanging fruit” opportunities that can have big impacts on conversions. 

Find more insights from our global consumer survey here.

The Fullstory TeamContributor

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Our team of data and user experience experts share tips and best practices.

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