‘Tis the season to be jolly – and shop ‘til you drop. Yes, it’s still November, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner, leading us right into the busiest shopping time of the year. In fact, this year Black Friday is forecasted to bring the biggest spike in sales for the whole year.
Even so, shoppers are just getting started, and Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year’s are prime times for retailers. The question is, how do people want to shop and experience material joy this holiday season? The keyword always leads back to experience.
Retailers this year need to focus their strategy towards engaging through multiple platforms, even more than in years past. There’s a demand to shop with ease, no matter where or how. This is still in combination with the big push for experiential retail – and that doesn’t just mean for brick-and-mortar shops. This year, the biggest spenders will be millennials and Gen Z, specifically high earners and millennial dads. These younger groups of shoppers are growing up and ready to share the holiday cheer with presents galore, so retailers need to be at the ready.
While physical stores are still very much alive and kicking, this year it’s really all about mobile integration with in-store experiences. According to a recently released study by PwC, 91% of consumers still plan to shop in stores, but 84% will head online to shop. More importantly though, 75% will be shopping in both online and in stores and will spend on average more than those who opt for either online or physical locations.
While window shopping has always been a longtime ritual, 68% of shopping this season will occur on a smartphone. And in 2018 alone, total smartphone traffic will surpass PC, tablet, laptop and phones combined. The new tech savvy generations are driving this shift, and retailers need to deliver on offering new experiences through this popular platform. Shoppers want in-store comparisons in real time, online purchasing and in-store pickup, and plenty of reviews to back up their selections. According to eMarketer, over half of consumers said they researched online before buying at shops. Gen Zers come in as the top users, with half of them preferring to shop on their smartphones.
Everyone is on the go, especially around the holiday season. It’s no wonder then that shoppers are getting smart about the way they pay – smartpay tech like mobile wallets and wearables are on the up-and-up. High-earning millennials are the largest user group who prefer to pay in store with their smartphone or wearables. They’re also big fans of clickable commerce like “buy” buttons and shoppable images, including through social. The best news is that there’s an overall YoY increase in consumers’ favoring these added methods of buying, leaving retailers with even more ways to sell their goods.
Now the best gifts even include things that aren’t always physical, like a holiday travel treat. This season, a third of consumers will travel around the holidays, and not just to see family and friends. They’re also on the hunt for things like adventure travel, beach trips or city breaks, with millennials 32 to 36 years old leading the pack.
With so many presents to be wrapped with care and placed under the tree, retailers have a lot of opportunities to take advantage of. Holiday shopping isn’t just red sales tags and snow-filled displays anymore – it’s about engaging with shoppers on their platform of choice. Offering a stress-free experience to go along with your products is simply necessary to keep up with shoppers’ on-demand expectations. After all, faster shopping means more time can be spent warming up by the fire with family and friends.
Looking for more tips on how to improve your online retail strategy? Take a look at our latest white paper on the top 5 retail trends, Today’s landscape in retail payments. It’s packed with expert insights on what’s hot in tech and strategy in 2018 for the retail sector.