2020 Holiday Retail Predictions
Fall is here, and for some that means pumpkin spice lattes, knit sweaters and a family trip to the apple orchard. For us in the retail industry, it’s prep time for the holiday shopping season craze. And with 2020 having its fair share of uncertainties and surprises, many are questioning what’s in store for the industry’s most lucrative season.
Despite all the uncertainty retailers are faced with, outlined below are three trends that we believe retailers should expect this holiday season.
Retailers Will Incentivize Shoppers to Go to Stores
While your initial reaction may be, “How can they do that safely?,” let me clarify. Retailers will be heavily promoting buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS). In year’s past, retailers wanted as much foot traffic as possible in order to increase the chances of the impulse buy. This year, with in-store traffic restrictions (or stores not being open at all), retailers still want shoppers to come to the store, but to pick up their items that they purchased online. This saves the retailer on shipping costs, keeps its margins intact, and reduces the chances of consumers returning products via mail. In fact, some retailers will offer discounts if people utilize BOPIS, proving that even with incentives, retailers are still able to save more money than if they were to ship products.
The Way Brands and Retailers Reach Out to Consumers Will Look and Feel Different
For all the uncertainty that COVID-19 has caused in the retail industry, one silver lining is that brands and retailers have gotten better in how they approach their customers. Pre-pandemic, could you have imagined getting a message from a retailer where it was just checking in with you to see how you were doing? Or how it could better serve you and be more accommodating? And not trying to sell you anything? What we’ve seen during COVID is a number of retailers placing less of an emphasis on sales and discounts in their marketing messages, and more of a focus on nurturing customer relationships. The belief is that these messages will create more loyal, long-term customers. Another way brand and retailer messaging will look different this holiday season is that their messages may lack a common theme. Because they have no visibility into the holiday season in which stores will be open, consumer sentiment, strength of economy, etc., retailers may start the season with deep discounts. However, if demand is higher than expected, they could cut back on promotions dramatically. Or vice versa.
Brands and Retailers Will Have More Behavioral Data Than Ever Before, Which Could Lead to the Most Personalized Holiday Season Ever
Due to COVID, shoppers will want to spend as little time in stores to avoid crowds and limit time in masks. As such, we predict that shoppers will spend more time researching online what they want to buy. With an influx in online browsing and shopping activities, brands will have more behavioral data at their fingertips than ever before. They’ll have data around which items and categories are most popular and can use that to their advantage, rather than relying on endcaps in-store to try to drive interest.
This year has shown how quickly we can adapt, pivot and put consumers' safety and preferences first as an industry. For consumers, this holiday season may be a much needed light at the end of a long, dark year.
Michael Osborne is the president and CEO of SmarterHQ, a leading cross-channel personalization platform.
Related story: What Retailers Should Learn From the 2019 Holiday Inbox
Michael Osborne is the president and CEO of SmarterHQ, a personalization platform that makes it easy for marketers to increase revenue now and customer relationships over time by powering highly relevant, cross-channel experiences.
As CEO of SmarterHQ, Michael Osborne provides leadership and focus on building their innovation, growth, and success. SmarterHQ works with leading brands such as Bloomingdale’s, Omni Hotels, Santander Bank, and Finish Line, and has been recognized by Forrester’s Total Economic Impact study to deliver 667% in ROI.
Prior to SmarterHQ, Michael served as Chief Revenue Officer for Bazaarvoice (NASDAQ: BV) and spent nearly five years at Coremetrics, (Acquired: IBM) where he built and managed the client services team.