We can’t believe it either, but Christmas is fast-approaching. When done right, Christmas provides businesses with the opportunity to gain more customers, make more sales and drastically improve brand awareness. The landscape of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to attracting customers is always changing – here are 4 retail trends that your business should be aware of this holiday season:
According to BigCommerce:
- 66% of customers browse online and then buy in a store
- 61% order online and collect in a store
- 74% buy online after seeing the product in stores
- 39% buy on their phones from within a retail store from that same retailer’s website
2017 shoppers comfortably switch between online services and physical stores depending on their needs (because of this, they are referred to as ‘omnishoppers’). If businesses want to remain competitive, they need to accommodate these online/offline purchasing habits by providing an ‘omnichannel’ retail experience. Hubspot defines ‘omnichannel’ retail as “the ability to deliver a seamless and consistent experience across channels, while factoring in the different devices that consumers are using to interact with your business.”
Businesses should take the time to monitor the purchasing habits of their customers and focus on improving both online and offline convenience. A few examples of major companies who are doing this well are:
- Domino’s, which has recently introduced ordering via Facebook Messenger
- Starbucks, which has a mobile app that allows customer to order and pay before picking up in-store
- UK department store John Lewis, which allows in-store shoppers to purchase products using smartphones and QR codes
- US store Crate + Barrel, which recently tested a program called ‘Mobile Tote’, in which shoppers browsed the shelves along with store-provided tablets that they could use to scan barcodes, gain product information, add items to wish lists and enlist the help of employees.
People love convenience. In terms of shopping, this means they appreciate a seamless connection between online and in-store shopping. You should aim to make shopping for your products or services as easy and enjoyable as possible. The shift towards omnichannel retail is only going to grow as technology (particularly AI and augmented reality) enhances – if you want to remain competitive, start making changes now.
Elevated Shopping Experiences
With the convenience of online shopping, it can be difficult to get customers to browse in-store. This brings us to another retail trend which is being referred to as ‘retailtainment’ – basically, the fusion of retail and entertainment. Retailtainment is an effort retailers are making to provide customers with fun, unique experiences that provide incentives for shopping in-store.
Retailtainment is based on the notion that people are more likely to engage with brands who incorporate lifestyle elements into their marketing. Businesses know that the longer customers spend in their store, the more likely they are to make a purchase. You need to think of ways your business can provide customers with unique, bold and personalised in-store experiences, and increased sales will follow.
According to Unilever, a third of consumers buy from brands based on their social and environmental impact and one in five people are more likely to choose a brand that makes its sustainability credentials clear on packaging. The shift towards sustainability and ethically-conscious purchasing has been growing in the last few years, and 2017 customers – particularly millennials – are less inclined than ever to keep a blind eye as to where their products are coming from.
Basically, if your business already takes an ethical and sustainable route, make sure that your customers know it. If your business doesn’t yet take this route, it might be time for a change.
Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Okay, this isn’t unique to 2017, but we thought we’d remind everyone about Black Friday, as it is the biggest shopping day of the year. This year, Black Friday falls on the 24th November – that’s this Friday! There is also Cyber Monday (basically an extension of Black Friday), which is on November 27th. Around 30% of retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas – so we recommend that you make the most of these shopping events!