Despite stress and strife, presidential election not hurting retail

| by Judy Mottl
Despite stress and strife, presidential election not hurting retail

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By all accounts this year's presidential election will go down in history for many reasons, most notably for being one of the most emotional, stressful and overall unsettling.

The good news for retailers is that none of it appears to be hurting consumers' shopping activity, according to the 2016 ForeSee Experience Index due out this month, which polled 1,700 web and mobile retail shoppers in the first half of November.

"The results provide some great insights, while also reinforcing a very important point about customer experience — namely, that there will always be outside factors (such as a major election) affecting CX that retailers cannot control. That means it's more important than ever to measure and improve the things you can control," the research firm wrote in a blog post about the study.

One big data point is that in 2015, Democrats were more satisfied with retail experiences than counterpart Republicans. This year, not so much, as more Republicans report greater satisfaction.

Whether this has anything to do with the election of a Republican president is fodder for a future study.

The encouraging news for retailers is that Americans aren't letting the divisive political season get in the way of shopping.

"So far, luckily for retailers, while emotions ran high during the election cycle, most shoppers plan to spend as much [as] or more in 2016 [than] they did during last year's holiday season," Eric Feinberg, ForeSee vice president of marketing, told RetailCustomerExperience.

The study reveals that two-thirds of shoppers (both Democrats and Republicans) aren't going to allow the election to affect their holiday spend. A greater number of Democrats are aiming to spend more — 19 percent compared with 12 percent of Republicans. Overall millennial shoppers will be the busiest, with 40 percent expecting to increase spend.

In regard to customer experience, Democrats are going to be "touchier" than Republicans, Feinberg said. Again, this may or may not be related to the defeat of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

"We need more data to draw any long-term conclusions, but it's clear that national politics do have an effect," said Feinberg. "So my biggest advice for retailers is that they should seek to understand differences in their own customers in order to drill down on which elements of the customer experience (or the external environment) are motivating them to spend more, shop more often and remain loyal."

Topics: Trends / Statistics

Judy Mottl

Judy Mottl is an experienced editor, reporter and blogger who has worked for top media including AOL, InformationWeek and InternetNews. She’s written everything from breaking news to in-depth trends. She loves a great pitch so email here, follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.

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