Hey Retailers, Are You Ready For The Holiday Season?

With online holiday spending reaching $35.3 billion in 2011 and American shoppers spending just under $750 on average on their holiday purchases this year, how ready is your business for the 2012 holiday season?   



Today’s shoppers do not take their purchases lightly.  They are more connected, interact with more resources to make decisions, diligently compare products and services, seek out the best deals, and ask for input from friends and family.   This holiday season, as consumers browse for apparel, tablets, toys, and much more, they will be bombarded with retailer communication - from emails and commercials to countless search engine results and social recommendations.  With a flurry of activity coming at consumers from every channel and competitor, your success this year will rely on communicating a consistent, personalized message no matter where your customers are shopping. 

Here are a few ideas to help with your commerce strategy this holiday season:

  1. CONSISTENCY COUNTS FOR MULTICHANNEL SHOPPERS


    According to a November 2011 study commissioned by Oracle, “Channel Commerce 2011: The Consumer View,” 54% of consumers in the U.S. and Canada regularly employ two or more channels before they make a purchase.  While each channel has its own unique benefit, user profile, and purpose, it’s critical that your shoppers have a consistent core experience wherever they’re looking for information or making a purchase.  Be sure consumers can consistently search and browse the same product information and receive the same promotions online, on their mobile devices, and in-store.


  2. USE YOUR CUSTOMER’S CONTEXT TO SURFACE RELEVANT CONTENT
    Your Web site is likely the hub of your holiday activity.  According to a Monetate infographic, 39% of shoppers will visit your Web site directly to find out about the best holiday deals.   Use everything you know about your customers from past purchase data to browsing history to provide a relevant experience at every click, and assemble content in a context that entices shoppers to buy online, or influences an offline purchase.


  3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MOBILE BEHAVIOR

    Having a mobile program is no longer a choice.   Armed with smartphones and tablets, consumers now have access to more and more product information and can compare products and prices from anywhere.  In fact, approximately 52% of smartphone users will use their device to research products, redeem coupons and use apps to assist in their holiday gift purchase.  At a minimum, be sure your mobile environment has store information, consistent pricing and promotions, and simple checkout capabilities.

  4. ARM IN-STORE ASSOCIATES WITH TABLETS

    According to RISNews.com, 31% of retailers plan to begin testing tablets in stores in 2012, 22% have already begun such testing and 6% had fully deployed tablets within stores.   Take advantage of this compelling sales tool to get shoppers interacting with videos, user reviews, how-to guides, side-by-side product comparisons, and specs.  Automatically trigger upsell and cross sell suggestions for store associates to recommend for each product or category, build in alerts for promotions, and allow associates to place orders and check inventory from their tablet.  


  5. WISDOM OF THE CROWDS IS GOOD, BUT WISDOM FROM FRIENDS IS BETTER

    Shoppers who grapple with options are looking for recommendations; they’d rather get advice from friends, and they’re more likely to spend more while doing so.    In fact, according to an infographic by Mr. Youth, 66% of social media users made a purchase on Black Friday or Cyber Monday as a direct result of social media interactions with brands or family.   This holiday season, be sure you are leveraging your social channels from Facebook to Pinterest to drive consistent promotions and help your brand to become part of the conversation.

So, are you ready for the holidays this year?  

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