Reach MORE Customers This Holiday Season
The holiday season is the busiest time of year for retailers, and shoppers are demanding more than ever in exchange for their attention, loyalty and dollars. If you want to succeed, you need to better understand not just what holiday shoppers want, but how they interact with your brand and make purchase decisions. Here are a few of the most important findings from Alliance Data’s 2018 Holiday Retail Outlook report, which can help you develop your holiday retail plans.
Leverage Loyalty During the Holidays and Beyond
Historically, retailers can see a 25 percent jump in loyalty reward redemptions and an 18 percent rise in reward points earned by shoppers during the holiday season. This increased engagement offers a huge opportunity for driving deeper connections and building loyalty with customers. Your loyalty program can also help bring more shoppers in-store: 39 percent of consumers said they're more likely to shop in a store where they belong to the loyalty program.
Be sure to communicate with your members early and often about why they should shop your brand during the holidays. And don’t miss the chance to follow up with them afterwards to keep them engaged heading into 2019.
The Customer is the Only Channel That Matters
Today’s shoppers move seamlessly across multiple channels to find and purchase products. According to the Holiday Retail Outlook report, 58 percent of shoppers will start to research a product online and complete their purchase in-store, while 46 percent will start in-store and purchase online. Instead of focusing on independent strategies for every channel, strive to deliver a seamless experience for shoppers, no matter where they’re researching and buying from your brand.
Maximize Mobile Micro-Shopping Moments
Prioritizing your brand’s mobile experience is a must for achieving holiday success. Mobile transactions reached a new high during the 2017 holiday season, with 66 percent of digital orders completed via a phone or tablet — a 58 percent rise from 2016. That trend is expected to continue, with 34 percent of consumers expecting to shop more on mobile this coming holiday season.
Shoppers Expect In-the-Moment Customer Service
Customers expect access to brands, on-demand and on their terms. To meet those needs, make sure you leverage technology and your front-line staff to make the shopping experience as quick and easy as possible. Convenient self-service tools are necessary, but knowledgeable in-store associates are also crucial. As many as 29 percent of customers expect to look to associates for guidance on what to buy, and 48 percent of shoppers between the ages of 16 to 24 rely on associates for information about a store’s offers, promotions or discounts.
Make it Easy to Get the Goods
Ninety-one percent of shoppers said that free shipping had at least “some influence” on their decision to buy, and two-day free shipping is quickly becoming the new normal. One area for brick-and-mortar stores to focus on is the buy-online, pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) customer. They're growing in number, and 20 percent to 45 percent of customers make an additional purchase when picking up their merchandise. Optimizing your in-store experience to take advantage of this trend could have a major impact on your sales.
For more information on how to better reach holiday shoppers, be sure to check out the full Holiday Retail Outlook report, featuring research and trends from Alliance Data’s businesses: LoyaltyOne, Epsilon, Conversant and Alliance Data’s card services business.
Heather Gouinlock manages all elements of client engagements at LoyaltyOne Global Solutions, a global provider of loyalty marketing and programs.