Published Sep 21, 2023

Elevating the Holiday Shopping Experience in 2023



The holiday season is a time of joy and giving, and for U.S. consumers, it’s also a time of elevated expectations when it comes to their shopping experience. In 2023, online retailers face greater demands from discerning shoppers seeking good deals, cost savings, seamless services, and personalized offers.

Celigo conducted a 2023 survey with 1000+ U.S. consumers. These respondents answered questions about how to meet consumers’ expectations.

In a previous post, we examined some of the survey’s top results, specifically emerging price-conscious trends and spending habits among U.S. holiday shoppers in 2023.

Here, we’ll explore U.S. consumers’ fundamental expectations for holiday shopping and offer strategies about how online retailers can meet (and exceed) these demands to ensure customer loyalty and ongoing engagement.

You can get the full 2023 Holiday Shopper Survey here.

Holiday Shopping: 2023 Key Findings

U.S. consumers have higher expectations for their holiday shopping experience in 2023, expecting online retailers to offer in-stock merchandise, fast delivery, and better service.

Key Findings:

  • 69% are looking for more personalized offers
  • 53% will turn away from an online retailer that provides slow delivery
  • 45% will turn away from an online retailer that has poor customer service reviews
  • 46% will avoid an online retailer with a vague or complicated returns policy

Consistent In-stock Merchandise and Fast Delivery

U.S. consumers are seeking a hassle-free shopping experience, and at the core of their expectations is the availability of in-stock merchandise and fast delivery options. A significant 53% of shoppers state that they will turn away from an online retailer that provides slow delivery.

To address this concern, retailers must prioritize efficient supply chain management and ensure that popular holiday items are readily available. Offering expedited shipping choices further entices customers, providing them the convenience they desire during the busy holiday season.

Personalized Offers and Deals

In 2023, customization is vital for consumers, with 69% expressing a desire for more personalized offers in addition to traditional deals and cost savings. To capitalize on this demand, online retailers should leverage customer data and preferences to create tailored promotions and product recommendations.

Implementing personalized loyalty programs and exclusive discounts for repeat customers can foster a sense of appreciation and loyalty, leading to increased customer retention.

Competitive Pricing

As the holiday shopping landscape gets more competitive, price sensitivity is critical for consumers. 52% of shoppers say they will turn away from an online retailer offering higher holiday merchandise prices.

Online retailers should conduct thorough market research to stay competitive and provide the best possible pricing for holiday products. Implementing dynamic pricing strategies and leveraging flash sales or time-limited offers can help attract budget-conscious shoppers.

Excellent Customer Service

Customer service plays a vital role in the overall shopping experience, with 45% of consumers indicating that they will turn away from an online retailer that provides poor customer service.

To stand out in a crowded market, retailers must invest in excellent customer support, including responsive live chat, email, and phone assistance. Promptly resolving customer queries and concerns can enhance customer satisfaction and drive positive word-of-mouth referrals.

Learn more about how to achieve flawless customer service through automation.

Comprehensive Product Availability

A diverse product selection is another crucial aspect of meeting customer expectations. If an online retailer does not offer the products and merchandise consumers seek, 41% of shoppers will avoid them altogether.

Online retailers should optimize inventory management to ensure a wide range of products catering to various interests and preferences. Investing in predictive analytics and trend analysis can help anticipate consumer demands and curate a well-rounded product catalog.

Streamlined Returns Policy

As much as consumers enjoy holiday shopping, they also value the ease of returns and exchanges. 46% of shoppers say they will avoid an online retailer with a problematic returns policy.

To create confidence in shoppers, retailers should offer a hassle-free returns process, clearly communicating the steps and guidelines for returns. Simplifying the process and providing prepaid return labels can significantly affect customer satisfaction and post-purchase experiences.

The Holiday Shopping Landscape: Shoppers Expectations

In 2023, U.S. consumers expect more from their holiday shopping experience, requiring online retailers to go beyond offering good deals. Online retailers can delight customers and foster long-term loyalty by prioritizing in-stock merchandise, fast delivery, personalized offers, competitive pricing, excellent customer service, comprehensive product availability, and a streamlined returns policy.

Meeting and exceeding these expectations will secure a successful holiday season and set the stage for continued growth and success in the competitive world of online retail.

Meet (and exceed) these expectations, secure a successful holiday season, and set the stage for continued growth and success in the competitive world of online retail.

Get the full 2023 Holiday Shopper Survey here.