It’s the most wonderful time of the year. That is, unless your holiday season is spent running from store to store in the hopes of finding the perfect gifts. To avoid overcrowded and overpriced stores, smart consumers shop online. In fact, according to the 2018 Deloitte holiday shopping study, “57% of this year’s holiday dollars will go through online channels, with in-store capturing 36% of spending.”
The online shopping experience is evolving in 2018, and retailers are competing for the savvy buyer’s attention with these 3 trends.
The shipping wars
When consumers first began moving online for their holiday shopping, steep prices and long shipping times led some individuals to skip the digital sale and instead head to a store to purchase an item. In 2018, not only will consumers receive their packages quickly — with many retailers offering 2-day shipping — but they’ll also get their items without having to pay a penny on shipping.
Better yet, retailers are vying for the best no-cost shipping option. This year, Amazon offered free shipping with no minimum during the holidays to all customers, even if they aren’t Prime members. Target now offers free two-day shipping to all customers up until December 22, compared to previous seasons, in which consumers could expect free standard shipping only. Finally, Walmart matches the other companies with free two-day shipping, but only with a minimum order of $35. New in 2018, Walmart extended this option to their third-party sellers as well.
Introducing virtual waiting rooms
In an interview for this article, Niels Henrik Sodemann, CEO & Co-founder of Queue-it, a waiting room platform that prevents website overload, reports, “The Black Friday tradition of lining up outside stores has moved online. In fact, we’ve found that 80% of shoppers are willing to wait up to one hour online to snag great deals as long as they are given transparent wait time info. This phenomenon follows the greater trend of consumers preferring to shop online from home instead of bearing the Black Friday masses at the stores.”
Tools like this are traditionally used to corral shoppers buying “experience gifts”, such as tickets to a sporting event or concert.
A mixed in-store & online shopping experience
“It’s expected that more holiday orders will be placed on a smartphone than any other device, especially as social networks like Instagram continue to act as digital malls that invite you in and then link straight to retail sites,” says Jessica Lehmann, Strategy Director at FITCH, a retail and brand consultancy, in an interview for this article.
Lehmann continues, “Retailers such as Home Depot are adept at catering to ‘phygital’ shopping habits, making it easy for people to browse in store and save the items they’re interested in by scanning the barcode in their native app, while also offering a seamless pick-up service that allows you to avoid lines.”
To learn more about 2018 holiday shopping season trends, visit smartercx.com/holiday.