4 ways to improve your holiday shopping experience, according to consumers
Tips and Tricks · 5 min read

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

The FullStory Team
Posted October 15, 2021

If you’ve shopped for nearly anything in the past several months you’ve likely noticed retailers are facing some challenges: Stock is low, shipping times are long, and there isn’t much anyone can do about it. 

As we approach the holiday shopping season, both retailers and consumers are concerned about the shopping experience.

FullStory surveyed 1,600+ US consumers to find out how and where they plan to shop for holiday gifts—plus what they expect from retailers. Here’s one notable finding: 

Nearly 85% of consumers say that a great digital experience is as or more important than a great in-store experience.

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What’s more, nearly one in three consumers say they’ll shop online more this holiday season than last. And with higher consumer expectations and fierce competition, brands should be taking steps to ensure that their digital experience passes muster. 

Our consumer survey revealed several valuable—and sometimes surprising—insights about what consumers want and expect to see from retailers this holiday season. Here are answers to four key questions retailers might have this season, according to the survey. 

To see the full results of our Consumer Holiday Survey, download the report here.

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 or app 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 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. In short, teams should focus on fixing shopping cart concerns.

1. The shopping cart won’t complete the transaction (37%)

2. The shopping cart won’t accept a gift code (36%)

3. Pages won’t load, the site times out, or I get a 404 error (34%)

4. I can’t find the product or sizing information I need (30%)

5. I can’t navigate or browse to the items I want to buy (24%)

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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 a business’s mobile experience—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 will 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. Not sure where to start? Here are three ways to improve your mobile ecommerce experience.

4. Should I offer “hybrid” shopping?

Precautions and restrictions have forced businesses of all types to get creative in how they deliver their products and services. For retailers, one of the results has been “hybrid” shopping experiences that combine some elements of digital shopping with the brick-and-mortar experience. 

Some examples of ways to improve the hybrid shopping experience include buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, virtual shopping/fittings, and more. With the resurgence of brick-and-mortar stores, many retailers are wondering if it’s worthwhile to continue offering these extra services and shopping options. 

According to our survey, the answer is a resounding, “Yes.” 

Of respondents, 23% of respondents said they would use hybrid shopping options often, while 5% said this would be their primary method of shopping if made available. Another 47% of consumer say they would use hybrid shopping experiences occasionally. 

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In all, this amounts to three out of four shoppers who would take advantage of hybrid shopping options at least some of the time—which clearly demonstrates the necessity of continuing to offer services like BOPIS.

Find out how FullStory can help you level up your digital experience strategy.

Request a demo or take a tour of FullStory.

The FullStory TeamContributor

About the author

Our team of digital experience intelligence experts shares tips and best practices.

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