68% of shoppers hunting for Valentine's Day gifts will enter a store if they receive an offer on their smartphones, a survey by Vista Retail support has found.
The poll, exploring consumer attitudes to Valentine's Day shopping, revealed how today's rushed romantics expect retailers to help them find the right gift in as pain-free and personalised manner as possible.
At this peak time in the year for retailers, the need to provide a stress-free and efficient customer experience was highlighted by the survey. 46% of respondents stressed they are most attracted to stores where they can rely on receiving a quick and easy experience and they won't have to queue. More than half (54%) avoid stores where they expect queuing or crowds (50%) will be greater.
The survey also revealed the opportunity for retailers to entice shoppers, with more than half (51%) saying they enter a store looking for inspiration. Short of ideas and in a hurry, nearly a quarter (24%) admit they would buy a more expensive gift if it saved time. 38% even admit they would shell out more than they originally intended if they received the right offer on their smartphone.
"It's clear that retailers need to take every step possible to entice hard-pressed Valentine's shoppers into their stores by making it as easy and pleasant as possible for them to find what they want," says James Pepper, technical services director, Vista Retail Support. "It is estimated that £1.6 billion was spent on Valentine's Day gifts and treats last year and the amount is sure to increase this year.
"Retailers need to make sure they have everything in place to capitalise on the opportunity and get their full share of this cake, giving consumers every reason to come into their stores. Once they are there, retailers must ensure customers have a satisfying experience, which includes having promotions and displays that strike the correct note.
"Consumers soon fall out of love with stores that get it wrong and retailers need to seize the opportunity to keep existing customers loyal and secure the interest of new consumers. The retailers that run poorly organised stores, lack the use of time-saving in-store technology and fail to attract a younger generation of consumers who expect to use technology in their shopping interactions, will ultimately be set to lose out."
The survey also revealed that while paying by debit and credit cards is favoured by the vast majority of Valentine's shoppers (67%), nearly a quarter prefer to pay via contactless cards. A mere 4% will use cash, barely more than the 3% expecting to use a smartphone or smart watch for payment.
In other findings, 38% say being unable to find what they want easily is a major reason for avoiding stores while 60% of those who do go through the doors say soppy promotions are a real turn-off. A sensitive 22% hate being targeted by over-enthusiastic staff because they are single, but for nearly a third (32%) one of the things they most hate is when the best flowers and chocolates have sold out. Another 30% said they get wound up by seeing other loved-up customers buying expensive gifts.