While everyone else enjoys the final days of summer, retailers are already preparing for their busiest time of year: the holidays. As you start to focus your efforts on this critical season, here are some must-know trends for connecting with consumers and maximizing profitability:
1. Mobile In-Store Searches Are Up: With mobile in-store searches up by over 30 percent from last season, you want your brand’s mobile experience to be as frictionless as possible. More frequently, customers are using their phones to look up products, read reviews, and even place orders right in your physical store. It’s important to market to the connected customer and create an omnichannel buying experience.
2. Action Buttons Are Key to Social Media: Between 2013 and 2014, referred traffic from social media declined, but increased in 2015 most likely due to the popularity of buy buttons on social sites. Retailers should strategize around action buttons to further increase online traffic for the upcoming holiday season.
3. Anticipate Holiday Procrastinators: Last year, searches for gift cards peaked on Christmas Eve. Running a flash email or mobile campaign promoting gift cards could be a smart way to take advantage of these last minute searches. Also, ShipStation predicts over 40 percent of holiday purchases will be shipped within the 10 days before Christmas. Knowing that last minute purchases result in last minute shipping, have a plan in place for your team and research well in advance any supporting software or additional manpower you will need come December.
4. Consumers Are Increasingly Shopping Online: Forty-six percent of consumers said they would do their 2015 holiday shopping online; a number that rose 2 percent from 2014. With more retailers adopting omnichannel strategies, we expect that number to rise again in 2016, so it’s wise to focus on optimizing your online presence.
5. Impulse Buys Lead to More Returns: Over 16 percent of all returns for 2015 occurred between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve. Of all holiday returns, the most for any given day was on the day after Cyber Monday. Impulse buys can lead to buyer’s remorse, which means more returns for you to manage. Determine your return policies in advance and make sure they are very clear to customers, especially during Black Friday Weekend. Anticipating this increase will help your team be more organized on policy and process for returns.
In order to best prepare for the holiday season, retailers need to understand historical data and how they can proactively address consumer trends. In Stitch’s new report with our partners at ShipStation, Preparing for 2016: Retail Holiday Data Report, we further discuss top consumer holiday shopping habits while providing retailers with tips to help them avoid operational mishaps and increase profitability for a successful holiday season.