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Retail Industry Updates

Holiday Shopping: Thankfully, There Are No Lines to Wait in Online

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It’s going to be a crowded holiday shopping season — online, at least — according to a U.S. company that provides software to help brands deliver revenue-generating and personalized customer experiences.

According to a survey of more than 1,000 consumers by Redpoint Global, 62% said they would shop exclusively online this year. Yes, exclusively. The survey was conducted by Dynata, an online market research firm.

“The commerce habits of virtually every consumer were dramatically changed in 2020,” said John Nash, chief marketing and strategy officer at Wellesley Hills, Mass.-based Redpoint Global. “For the holiday season, these shopping trends will continue to transform the shopping experience and it is imperative brands adapt. The retailers that use real-time data to understand individual consumer preferences, make changes the data shows are needed, and effectively leverage multiple channels will be much more successful in securing consumer spend this holiday season.”

According to the survey, shoppers are going increasingly digital and their expectations around personalization are also increasing. Personalization motivates purchases with nearly half (49 percent) saying they will be more likely to purchase from retailers who send personalized content and/or offers this holiday season. A top consumer frustration, according to the study, is receipt of irrelevant offers. Today’s consumer sees being understood by a brand as table stakes, Redpoint Global said. In the survey, 82% of respondents expect that retailers will be able to accommodate preferences and expectations.

Brands that can get personalization right will be rewarded, with consumers highly likely (70%) to purchase exclusively from brands that show they understand them, Redpoint Global concluded. Two thirds of respondents say they want retailers to make the personalization consistent and frictionless, no matter the channel. They want the same understanding from a company whether shopping on a website, in-store, via a mobile app or reaching a call center.

Additional insights from the survey that Redpoint Global said retailers should be aware of are:

Omnichannel approaches are key — While e-commerce will be crucial for holiday shopping, retailers should ensure they bridge the gap between physical and digital channels as 50% of respondents plan to take advantage of buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) capabilities.

Consumer pockets will not be as deep — More than half (56%) of consumers expect to spend the same this holiday shopping season as last. But with uncertain markets and high unemployment, 27% say they will spend less.

Moderation is critical — 39% of consumers say they get overwhelmed by marketing from retailers during the holidays, so striking the right balance of personalized communication at the cadence the customer prefers is as important as what the marketing materials say.

Maintain supply chain transparency — Keeping stocked shelves digitally and physically is important. Out of stock items remains a point of friction for many consumers during the holiday season, 36% rating it as a top frustration. Transparency in communication around delays is a major factor in managing customer expectations.

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