With the busiest time of the year just around the corner, this monthly round-up features trends for 2016’s holiday season and all the essentials you need to know! Are you running out of the time to read the news? Look no further, our collection of the top news stories of October is here. So grab your cup of coffee and scroll through:
eMarketer forecasts that during November and December 2016 UK retail eCommerce sales will reach an estimated £16.90 billion ($28.83 billion) and 20.3% of all holiday season retail sales, which is a 15 percent increase from £14.65 billion ($22.39 billion) in 2015. Much of the increase is attributed to the rise in smartphone purchases in the UK. eMarketer predicts that smartphones will account for 36.4% of total retail mobile commerce (smartphones, laptops and tablets) sales in the UK in 2016.
Additionally, the market research states that overall UK retail sales will reach £83.22 billion ($127.18 billion) during this holiday season. In comparison to 2015, that is 1.3% higher.
According to Internet Retailer, for the first time this holiday season, consumers will spend an equal amount of their budgets toward online and physical stores purchases. Deloitte recently surveyed more than 5,000 shoppers and found they plan to spend 47%of their budgets online, and 47% in physical stores (the remaining 6% allocated toward other channels, including catalogs).
What does that mean for physical stores? For traditional brick-and-mortar retailers that also engage in eCommerce operations this translates into additional shipping and logistics related expenses. Additionally, a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers found that 39% of consumers plan to pick up their online orders in store.
How about for eCommerce? Online shoppers have increasingly become harder to please. In 2015, 63% of shoppers considered three to four day shipping to be fast; while today, 42% find that to be true, says Deloitte. “They're also less willing to pay for shipping. Shoppers on average said they'd pay an extra $1.50 for two-day shipping, down 90 cents from 2015.”
Opening on Thanksgiving Day, a trend that started around 2011 when many large stores attempted to further capitalize on the consumer’s “Post Pie Purchase”, might be over very soon. Contributor for Forbes, Erika Morphy, points out that more than 40 retailers (including Costco, Home Depot, Office Depot, OfficeMax and REI) will remain closed this Thanksgiving Day. Although Black Friday remains a grand day in sales, retailers such as hhgregg have experienced decline on Thanksgiving business over the last two years.
In numbers, according to Morphy, brick-and-mortar traffic was down by 5.1% from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday, while online retail sales for Black Friday 2015 were up by 21.5% YoY.
CNBC reported that according to new findings from Accenture’s recently released consumer study - 42% of 1,500 shoppers “rarely or never expect to pay full price for an item.” As retailers enter the holiday season with intentions to stock the correct amount of inventory and find ways to improve their top and bottom lines, they need to be aware of many variables that can unravel those plans.
The article also cites DynamicAction’s finding that North American orders using a promotion are up 65 % in Q3 (YoY), as a result of retailers’ inability to pinpoint opportunities. As they take advantage of the savings they are able to make in retail, consumers allocate their spending towards experiences such as travel and dining out.
Rob Markey, with Harvard Business Review, explains that although many businesses have great loyalty scores, their sales may still be flat because they did not succeed in capturing the economic potential of the goodwill in their customer base.
The economic benefit of good customer loyalty, Markey argues, comes only when customers act upon their positive feelings toward the brand. He points to three ways to transform loyalty into bottom-line results:
Learn more about your most loyal customers. It is equally important to determine the sources of customer delight, as it is to learn about why they were dissatisfied (usually where most companies focus their energy).
Tune your offerings to meet their needs. Upon having a greater grasp of loyal customers, companies should also have access to strengths and weaknesses in the product line. That in turn, should allow retailers to evaluate if their competitors are offering something they are not. Finally, that prompts brands to uncover the needs their customers have that they were not aware of.
Help them spread the word. Retailers should provide their customers with a platform they can use to tell their stories and express their loyalty to a relevant audience. Markey provides real-life examples such as Adobe’s Marketplace & Exchange Classic and LEGO user groups.
This concludes another of our monthly round-ups. Check back next month for a newly curated collection of headlines that will get you up-to-date with the retail industry’s latest buzz… Additionally, we invite you to stay tuned to our blog page and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for all of our musings.