Consumers spend all year engaged in retail therapy to ward off the stress of every day life. However, when the holiday season rolls around, one of the biggest stressors is shopping. It’s a lot harder to use it as a pick-me-up when the parking lots are full, popular items are consistently out of stock, and stores are filled with other over-stressed shoppers.
However, there are still many reasons to be jolly this year. Retailers know that a positive customer experience is vital to making sales, and this holiday season, they’re putting in efforts to make shopping fun again. Here are three ways consumers will be able to enjoy retail therapy in 2018.
Retail therapy for the future consumer
Win the heart of a young child, and you may even win the wallet of their parent. Retailers are looking to their littlest guests to act as micro-influencers this holiday season by offering both in-store and online experiences for children— at no cost to the parent. Think of it as retail therapy for the school-aged child. They might not be able to afford the items, but they will be able to create a detailed list for Santa.
A picture with Santa is a favorite holiday tradition, but lines are long and picture packages can be pricey. Retailers like Kohls wanted to bring more fun to the holiday season, so they invited Santa to stores for the first three Sundays of December. And even better, the children who visit and take a free picture with him also get a free FAO Schwarz surprise just for attending.
Walmart is another retailer tapping into the child influence by offering physical and digital events to its youngest guests. Online, they can visit The Walmart Toy Lab, a digital playground to test out this season’s 20 hottest toys. In-store events range from parties offering treats like chocolate-covered Oreos and hot chocolate to playtime events with toy demonstrations and a Santa drop in.
Quick shipping — an almost instant gratification
2018 is the year of shipping wars with big box retailers. A great deal of stores are offering free shipping, and many of them are doing it at no cost to the consumer. There’s nothing that will ruin a retail high more than waiting by the door in pajamas for the mail to show up every day, and speedy shipping keeps consumers happy.
“We want to make the busy holiday season easier for our guests so they can spend more time with their family and friends,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell in a press release. Besides offering free two-day shipping to all customers without a minimum purchase or a membership fee, the retailer also offers same-day delivery with Shipt and drive up, pick up options for its customers.
An omnichannel experience to avoid crowds
According to a recent Shopkick survey, crowds are proven to channel a shopper’s inner Grinch. Yet, 54% of respondents still plan to go into physical stores this season. Omnichannel touch points allow consumers to experience the annual traipsing from store to store, without the stress of being elbow to elbow with other consumers. Instead, they can nestle up on the couch with some eggnog and a fuzzy blanket while making all of their purchases, and then pick up their items in store, skipping lines and potentially saving money with digital coupon codes. Similarly, when an item is out of stock in store, smart consumers can order it on the spot with their smartphones.
To learn more about 2018 holiday shopping season trends, visit smartercx.com/holiday.