Retailers experience about 20-30% spike in sales during holiday seasons. This year is no different, but with a twist. According to the Deloitte’s Holiday Survey for 2016, this year consumers will go online to shop for gifts. While stores will continue to receive holiday shoppers and record sales, online stores will see as much traffic and perhaps sales too. The survey estimates an increase of 17-19% in e-commerce sales, equivalent to $96-98 billion worth sales between November 2016 and January 2017.
Last year, an average American spent $487 on gifting items like gifts cards and gift certificates, and $976 on non-gifting items like entertainment at home and away from home, home furnishings, and clothing for self. Some of the hot product categories included women’s fashion, beauty and grooming, gourmet grocery, pet supplies, home appliances, electronics, and toys and games.
This year, customers are ready to make more informed purchases due to easy access to online information and customer reviews. Over half of total shoppers have already planned their gifts in advance. Retailers will have the opportunity to influence only 33% of total buyers into impulse buying. The most favored product categories will mostly continue to be the same this year with apparels and fashion topping the charts.
Predictions indicate Christmas will be the busiest time for retailers. There will be huge rush both in-store and online. It is, therefore, important for retailers to take full advantage of the situation. Here are some of the things they should do to reap maximum benefits during the season:
- Strategize with a holiday focus
The retailer should plan in advance and customize marketing for every product in the store. Devise every product (directly or indirectly related to Christmas) with a “Christmas special marketing plan.
- Decorate the online store
Retailers should invest a portion of their Christmas marketing budget toward a festive makeover for their websites. They should creatively design the online store to reflect the joy and sentiments of the celebration. Landing pages should be done with Christmas themes to enhance visitor engagement.
- Run Christmas special promotions and discounts
Consumers hunt for bargains and discounts online and in-store, especially during festive seasons like Christmas. According to a survey by Deloitte, 77% people say that promotions will impact at least one purchase in the online store, as consumers hunt for bargains, offers, coupons, and deals
- Grab the impulsive buyers
This year, 17% of online purchases are going to be impulsive. Retailers should deploy intelligent recommendation engines to cross-sell and invoke consumers to make impulse purchases.
- Facilitate free shipping and easy returns
Attractive offers and promotions are not the only strategies for retailers to boost their sales during this season. Predictions show that “free shipping” is one of the most influential shopping policy that will drive a ,
buyer’s purchasing decision this year. Consumers also look for online stores with free returns and cash refunds.
- The “Prime effect”- fast shipping redefined
Consumers’ definition of “fast shipping” has changed drastically. In 2015, around 65% of consumers considered 3-4 days as fast delivery. Today that has come down to 2 days. Also, the willingness of consumers to pay more for early delivery has reduced as compared to 2015. To win customer loyalty, retailers strategically plan and define their delivery policy.
- Organize social media campaigns
Reaching out to a wider set of audiences play a crucial role in increasing sales for retailers. Running well devised and carefully planned social media campaigns can trigger valuable conversations with the target audience to understand what they think and want. Social media can also be used to launch contests for the target audience.
- Drive purchases with email marketing
Predictions point to email marketing as the best promotional tool for 2016 holiday season. Retailers should use this personalized marketing tool to send customized emails that will instill a sense of urgency among consumers and drive them to make purchases. Avoid spamming.
- Embrace the last minute shoppers
There is a significant chunk of consumers who shop in the last minute. Retailers should create targeted marketing campaigns for these shoppers with lucrative offers or shopping policies such as free same day delivery or delivery on Christmas day. These policies or strategies are more likely to boost sales.
Thus, with a wide range of experience and expertise, Blueocean enables retailers to achieve the most from this upcoming holiday season.
What are your holiday plans for your consumers? Share with us your ideas and opinions here.