More than 84 percent of consumers said their online shopping experience this season was “good” or “excellent,” up from 78 percent last year, according to Baynote’s  2nd Annual Holiday Online Shopping Experience Survey.

Social networks played no role for 80 percent of online shoppers surveyed, but personal recommendations were important – evidence of missed marketing opportunities.

The attributes consumers said were most important to ensuring a positive online shopping experience included a smooth checkout process, effective on-site navigation and search, informative user reviews and comments, and personalized product recommendations, although consumers indicated there is room for improvement across the board.

Furthermore, consumers were generally satisfied with privacy controls across eCommerce channels this year, except on Facebook, which has publically struggled to quell the privacy concerns of its users; more than one out of five people said it did not meet their expectations on privacy.

“With so much hype around emerging channels this holiday season, our survey shows online retailers which of them actually delivered the best online experience,” said Anurag Wadehra, chief marketing officer for Baynote.

“While social, mobile and tablets all have tremendous potential, retailers need to improve the customer shopping experience across these new channels. This holds particularly true for the tablet, which we expect will dominate all other emerging channels in the coming year.”

Key findings of the Baynote Holiday Online Shopping Experience Survey include:

  • The future of mobile commerce is the tablet:
    • Nearly half of tablet owners (49 percent) used their tablets to make purchases.
    • Respondents indicated that tablets would become a larger part of mobile commerce than other platforms; nearly 60 percent of tablet owners expect to use their tablet to research or purchase products in the next year, compared to only 21 percent of mobile phone users.
    • Despite opportunities around the tablet, consumers gave the overall shopping experience on this channel a B- grade.
  • Despite the hype, social commerce has yet to deliver on its promise:
    • Nearly 80 percent said social networks had no influence on their holiday shopping decisions yet 55 percent said getting advice on products from friends was important, indicating retailers are missing an opportunity to exploit the social graph.
    • Less than nine percent of consumers purchased something from a retailer’s Facebook fan page yet 20 percent made a purchase on an eCommerce website based on a promotion seen on Facebook.
    • Consumers gave the overall shopping experience on Facebook a C+ grade.
  • Personalized recommendations are driving sales:
    • The majority of shoppers (57 percent) purchased items recommended to them, indicating personalized recommendations are paying off for online retailers. Shoppers were most satisfied with how retailers personalized the shopping experience on retail websites, compared with Facebook, mobile phones and tablets, with 93 percent saying it met or exceeded their expectations.
    • Email and search delivered the most relevant personalized product recommendations, outperforming those of eCommerce sites and in-store sales associates.
    • Consumers found coupons and promotions delivered via email, direct mail and search more useful than those received via emerging channels such as daily deal sites and social networks.
    • Baynote created this infographic illustrating the survey results:
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