What Retailers Need to Know About the Holiday Shopping Season
Despite the perception that shoppers are divided into two camps — those who prefer brick-and-mortar stores and those who like to buy online — a recent holiday shopping survey conducted by Shopkick shows that consumers actually want both.
This holiday season, half of shoppers plan to do the majority of their shopping at physical retail stores. But there’s a twist: they want to use their phones too. Eighty-four percent of in-store shoppers will use their mobile devices in the aisle to research products and read reviews, compare prices, and simply to find inspiration before making a purchase.
Savvy retailers should consider this when developing their holiday omnichannel marketing strategies. Our research shows that now more than ever, it’s essential for retailers to engage with their customers regardless of how, when and where they’re shopping.
We asked over 30,000 of our users how they’ll be approaching this upcoming holiday season. The results were illuminating.
Getting a Jump Start on Shopping
With holiday shopping starting earlier every year, and the 2019 calendar including a shorter shopping window between Thanksgiving and Christmas, retailers can expect to see consumers rely less on major shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
We found that more than a third of consumers (35 percent) will conduct their holiday shopping prior to Thanksgiving. Surprisingly, only 19 percent plan to get through their list on Black Friday, and a mere 3 percent plan to do the bulk of their shopping on Cyber Monday.
To take advantage of that, retailers and brands will need to leverage incentives — e.g., order online and pick up in-store, free shipping, and rewards programs — and in-store personalized experiences earlier and continue them throughout the holiday season.
Reaching Shoppers In-Store
Despite being digital natives, we also found that Gen Z will actually be leading the in-store shopping charge this holiday season. Regardless of age, however, all consumers are looking for the same thing when they shop brick-and-mortar: inspiration and excitement.
From holiday gifts to festive decor and attire, shoppers say they're heading to physical retail stores largely for the inspiration of seeing items firsthand rather than online or on their mobile devices. Consumers also say they’re shopping in-store for easy price comparisons, overall convenience, and to browse a wider variety of product options.
This year we’ll see an even bigger movement towards in-store experiences. The more Instagram-worthy, the better.
Last year, Fatherly partnered with brands like RXBar Kids, littleBits, and LEGO to create a holiday pop-up shop, The Playroom. At The Playroom, families were able to test and shop the editors’ curated picks of 2018’s 100 best toys. While parents were able to compare, shop and discuss the best toys in real time with experts, children were encouraged to test toys, join activities, and more.
The Playroom schedule included storytime, arts and crafts, musical performances, and even free pictures with Santa on Sundays, delighting children and parents alike.
The more retailers can offer above and beyond the everyday experience, the more foot traffic they can expect to see.
Incentivizing Holiday Shoppers
In addition to in-store experiences and events to attract shoppers and spark inspiration, retailers should integrate incentives into their holiday strategies. We found that low prices are the most important incentive when shopping during the holidays, followed by free shipping, rewards programs, and easy returns (42 percent, 31 percent, 10 percent, and 6 percent, respectively).
This year we can expect to see online shoppers motivated by the best deals and benefits like free shipping, while in-store shoppers will be incentivized predominantly by factors such as gift wrapping and in-store-only deals and rewards.
This year shoppers won’t be choosing between the physical and digital — they want the best of both worlds. And they want an increasingly enhanced experience. Successful retailers will be the ones that take a complete, omnichannel approach, engaging consumers with unique offerings wherever and whenever they're shopping, and offering incentives across channels.
Dave Fisch is the general manager of Shopkick, a Trax company, and a leading shopping rewards app, bringing moments of joy to everyday shopping — both online and offline.
Related story: How Online Retailers Can Beat the Holiday Season
Dave Fisch is the General Manager of Shopkick, a Trax company, and a leading shopping rewards app, bringing moments of joy to everyday shopping - both on- and off-line. For brands and retailers, Shopkick provides high consumer engagement along the entire path to purchase. The company’s unique pay for performance model has been proven to deliver high ROI, driving incremental traffic, product engagement, and sales. Some of its leading brand and retail partners include Auntie Anne's, Barilla, Brighton, eBay, GE, Kellogg's, TJ Maxx, Unilever, among others.
Shopkick is available for free on iPhone from the App Store and for Android from Google Play. For more information, please visit www.shopkick.com.