Late to the Party: How to Cater to Last-Minute Shoppers This Year
As the holidays quickly approach, many early-bird consumers have already begun rounding up items on their holiday lists, eager to beat the holiday rush. But as any retailer knows, there will inevitably be plenty of shoppers who need a little — or perhaps a lot — of help making that final dash to get their holiday shopping wrapped up.
If you read the first installment in this series, you’re familiar with our personas approach to the holidays, namely the early peak season shoppers who we refer to as the Robins and Turtles. Now we’re shifting gears to the more last-minute bunch, our Foxes and Rabbits, and how you can maximize your holiday strategy to serve their needs.
The Personality Profile
So, who are these buyers? Why are they pushing their shopping trips off until the last minute? While there may be many answers to these questions, there are two main personas we’ve found that fit the bill. Here’s a peek at the two high-level segments that are likely to enter your stores at the eleventh hour:
- Foxes: these shoppers are centered on the deal, and focus their shopping around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
- Rabbits: this shopper type focuses on convenience, which isn't surprising given that they tend to make a final shopping jump just before Dec. 25.
The Fox Hunt and the Rabbit Hop
Foxes make up 18 percent of shoppers and account for nearly 20 percent of holiday purchases each year. They're research-focused, and nearly two-thirds of their time is devoted to finding the right item at the best price. A majority of foxes say they're also shopping for themselves while searching for gifts (those sneaky Foxes!).
In order to capture these shoppers, exclusivity and discounts are essential. Ensure that your pre-Black Friday and Cyber Monday messages, whether online or in-store, emphasize exclusive offers and buying opportunities. For in-store shoppers, create in-store-only deals that offer group specials (since they're shopping for themselves, too). Cross merchandise in nontraditional ways. For example, if there’s a deal on ski sweaters “for him,” chances may be that she needs one, too. Display and message around “you deserve it” to encourage shoppers to buy for themselves.
Roughly one-fifth of shoppers are classified as Rabbits, and they account for more than a quarter of the annual holiday spend. Rabbits are avid researchers as well, but are open to suggestions — over half aren't sure what they want or which retailers to shop.
To chase the Rabbit, highlight the speed and ease of shopping along with special offers. For in-store shoppers, help the consumer be efficient by co-locating a wide variety of gifts for different demographics. This will yield a quick way to view options as well as thought-starters. Display easy ways to “finish the gift,” whether it's a companion product (e.g., batteries with a toy, game with a gaming system) or gift wrap. Make it seamless to purchase gifts and give them.
Key Considerations This Year
As with everything in 2020, holiday shoppers will likely be changing their approach in some areas. To help ensure that you're relevant to their new methods, here are a few key things to remember:
- Find ways to make Black Friday offerings more broadly available (if you’re doing them at all). More than a third of shoppers in the U.S. who usually shop retail stores for Black Friday indicate they will not this year. Whether its buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS); taking an online number to secure a place in “line”; or extended days of availability, take the excitement of the deals and make them COVID-19 friendly.
- Extend safe shopping spaces to create contactless shopping. Over half of consumers who plan to shop in-store this year will be looking for stores that offer contactless purchases. Make it a priority to offer this during the holiday rush.
- Ensure that your systems help shoppers know what's available in-store. Demand for this was about 40 percent last year; it's sure to grow this year as many shoppers avoid the crowds for health reasons. Make sure there are alternate ways for shoppers to access your inventory remotely.
- Expand and simplify the ability to purchase online and have curbside or in-store pickup. Nearly half of U.S. shoppers indicate they’ll be looking for stores that offer these options.
There’s still time to help the four types of holiday shoppers and ensure that it isn’t a zoo out there, especially when they set foot into your store. Understand what makes each persona, including our last-minute Foxes and Rabbits, unique and cater your strategy to their preferences. By building ways to make purchasing easy, safe, and as seamless as possible, you’ll be prepared to capture holiday shoppers all season long.
Lise Wilson and Susan Brock are vice presidents, retail strategy at Miller Zell, an innovative experience design solutions company.