Retail Trends Boosting Holiday Spirit and the Bottom Line

Holiday ShoppingWhether your customers are naughty or nice is of no concern to you because this holiday season it’s all about what the customer wants. Stricken with economic turmoil, increasing gas prices, and tight budgets, most U.S. consumers feel as if they’ve already been sentenced for any bad behavior. As a result, in an effort to make the shopping experience fun and affordable once again, this holiday season retailers are listening to customer requests, innovating for convenience and testing out new promotional tactics.

Happy Customers Make for Happy Holidays

A recent NRF consumer survey reveals that more than 37 percent of shoppers plan to have some holiday shopping completed before Halloween has come and gone. And retailers have wasted no time in making merry customers. Below are some of the customer-friendly trends money-saving expert, Andrea Woroch, says retailers have adopted as part of their holiday promotions. Are you giving customers what they want this holiday season?

Personalized recommendations. The increase in browsing and shopping channels has led to an increase in information on individual search and shopping behavior. As a result, retailers will be pushing out email blasts and other promotional offers with personal product recommendations. As ABC15 explains, “It’s a proven system for presenting consumers with products they might otherwise miss, while promoting a one-to-one experience that personalizes a retailer’s website and service.”

Integrated marketing campaigns. Without the intention of sounding like a broken record and rather as an enthusiast, continues to push the idea of omni-channel marketing because it is what customers are expecting. As mentioned in a previous article, the old saying goes, “Don’t fix something that isn’t broken,” but without a second look you could be missing out on your true selling potential, something that won’t easily be forgiven by your customers. As Retail Systems Research (RSR) explains in a benchmark report titled, “Omni-Channel Fulfillment and the Future of Retail Supply Chain,” current business and supply-chain models assume that the store is the endpoint of a transaction. In actuality, “Current supply chain models are not suited to an omni world, a world where consumers increasingly have little care which channel they use to research, select, transact or collect products.”

Paid shipping expenses. With retailers online and in-store fighting for consumer attention during the recent economic crisis and now, fragile recovery, free shipping has become a regular promotion in an effort to bid for customer attention. Comscore found free shipping served as a strong incentive for shoppers to buy more, one of the obvious benefits so many retailers have decided to offer the promotion. “Orders with free shipping tend to average roughly 30 percent more in total money spent than when shoppers must shell out a few bucks more for delivery,” says Comscore. “In fact, a May 2011 study revealed 61 percent of consumers would likely cancel their entire purchase if free shipping wasn’t offered.”

Preferred layaway programs. With consumers fretting over additional debt and worried about maxing out their credit cards, many big box retailers and chain stores have implemented layaway programs. This may be a good way to entice your consumers who may have initially crossed some items off their wish list because of price. One of the most recently talked about programs comes from Walmart says ABC15. “Walmart’s campaign begins this year on Oct. 17 and is available only for purchases of $50 or more on electronics and toys. Each item must be worth at least $15 and shoppers will pay a $5 initiation fee, place 10 percent down, and pay off the debt by Dec. 16 or face a $10 cancellation fee,” says the news site.

For more retail trends to be seen this holiday season, click HERE.