By Karen Herman, Founder & Retail Design Strategist, Gustie Creative
The holiday shopping season is in full swing, but you may be doing things differently this year. According to the latest research, 60% of us have changed our shopping habits. For instance, we are doing our holiday shopping earlier than ever before.
Online shopping is the main reason, as it continues to oer convenience, a broad selection, and good prices. Online shopping has become the great enabler to allow instant gratification from purchase to delivery. It allows us to literally find and buy virtually every product sold in the world in seconds.
Online shopping has not only changed how we shop, but also how we discover the items we choose to buy, with nearly 50% of us searching, discovering, sharing with friends, and even engaging with brands, to find just the right products to fulfill desires.
This year, 67% of holiday shopping is expected to be online. Research shows that many of us start our holiday shopping in August or September. A few reasons are to avoid crowded stores and shipping delays. And many of us have simply changed as consumers.
Here are traits of today’s new consumer:
Deal Seeking A lot of us are flocking to dollar stores, saving money by going DIY (do it yourself), and buying second-hand merchandise. With the economy slowing and inflation on the rise, why not look for a good deal.
Demanding We want to buy a product in nearly every setting: on a brand’s website, on social media platforms, on videos, on connected televisions and, of course, in digital malls and third-party online marketplaces such as Amazon.
Immediate Our purchases have to arrive quickly. Delivery of 5-7 business days is now shortened to next day, same day, or one-hour or less. It is not quick enough to go to a store to buy something. Our purchase has to be waiting at the curb or put in the trunk, so we don’t even leave the car.
Informed When we do venture out to shop or eat, we want to know details. We want to know what stores are open and closed, what are the hours of operation, which products are out-of-stock, what are the BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) instructions, what are the delivery alternatives and return policies, as a few examples.
Of course, many of us will go out to shop in-store, so we can touch and feel products and learn details about services. We can discover gifts that are one of a kind and enjoy a personalized shopping experience. Brick and mortar retailers can offer many advantages during the holiday season. These advantages include highly curated products, personalized service, a helpful and knowledgeable staff, unique and memorable experiences, competitive prices, convenient hours of operation and a good return policy.
Brick and mortar retailers should embrace online retailing and leverage the smartphone to their advantage, as it continues to grow as the most popular channel for holiday purchases. Holiday shoppers expect retailers to use technology to improve their shopping experience, and brick and mortar retailers should make sure their website, online product pages and shopping apps are up-to-date and that all are easy to use, quick to load and make transactions fast to complete.