Monthly Archives: October 2013

What Pushes Consumers To Holiday Shop Online

Yesterday, we detailed information on in-store vs. online shopping.  Today, we’ll look into the reasons why consumers shop online.  If you are a Brick & Mortar, this can help you craft strategies to retain in-store sales.  If you are a virtual retailer or want to push sales to a web site, these are things to promote.

online holiday shopping• Nearly 70% of consumers said free shipping was the top reason they shopped online

• Nearly 60% said that cheaper prices online vs. in-store was why they we were going to holiday shop online

• 46% said that avoiding crowds was a reason they planned to virtually shop

• Over 40% said that the lack of sales tax collection and easy-to-use websites were why they planned to shop online this year

• More than 30% cited the ability to return items at a store or free returns pushed them towards digital shopping

• 29% said that they wider selection online was their primary reason to shop online and 24% said thatclear shipping information was their reason

What Does This Mean To You?

Just 14% of consumers said there was no reason to shop online.  That means that over 85% of shoppers could be moved to shop online.
If you have a physical location that you are trying to keep sales at, free shipping and price matching are strategies to employ.  We’ve mentioned in past posts that making shopping convenient is key during the holidays. Remember that convenience is one of the main drivers behind ecommerce. Special hours and special shopping events targeted to those in a time crunch can help shoppers avoid crowds and make in easy for them to buy from you instead of a competitor.
If you are a virtual store looking to take convert in-store shoppers, mobile should be key (that should go without saying). Also, make sure all of your platforms are easy to navigate.  Remember that the holidays could bring out possible customers who don’t normally shop in a virtual space.  Don’t leave them guessing on where to go or what to do.  Also, follow-up emails and online coupons can be a great way to reinforce a good shopping experience and create additional buying opportunities.  Returns can be a big concern at the holidays – make sure your shoppers know your policies.  For more information on how you can have a merry, bright and profitable holiday season, please contact:
Al Fiala

Source: Accenture Research


The Big Question – In-Store or Online This Holiday Season

For many businesses, the holidays are the difference between profitability operating at a loss (hence the name Black Friday). For a large percentage of retail businesses, holiday consumerism represents between 20% and 40% of total sales.   Consumers aren’t just choosing amongst what stores they spend their money at, they are also choosing between virtual and physical shopping locations.  New research looks into why consumers decide to either shop online or in-store from retailers.

why-a-shopping-cart• The number one reason consumers shop online from a retailer is because they want to avoid the crowds.  28% of shoppers said this.  Year over year, avoidance of crowds as a reason has slid slightly.

• The top reason people said they wanted to shop at a retailers brick and mortar store was they want to touch and feel the item before buying it.  22% answered this way

• 15% said they preferred to shop online because they get better deals

• 14% indicated they preferred to shop in-store because they like to browse, 13% said they like to shop in-store because they like the experience of holiday shopping

• 5% said that they preferred shopping online because there was a bigger selection available to them

What Does This Mean To You?

Depending on your strategy, there are always tactics to that promote either online or in-store shopping.  Each also has their down side.  While online shopping may reduce certain costs for a business, it often can put a strain on their back of house systems.  Online only shoppers are less likely to make spur of the moment purchases.  In-store shopping may inspire the purchase of addition items.  There are a myriad of extra costs from floorplan to commission.
The reasons why people shop online or in-store, can also be used to create policies that draw the sales from the other side.
Special sale hours limited to preferred shoppers can help you sway online shoppers into stores because you’ve eliminated crowds as a deterrent.
Detailed product descriptions, product videos and easy return policies can help move physical store shoppers to your virtual space.
Price matching may mitigate the online shoppers search for the best deal. Using product recommendation and showing what similar shoppers bought aid browsers because more virtual in their shopping habits.  The first step is to have a plan. For more information in creating winning holiday strategies, please contact:
Al Fiala

Source: Accenture Research

Black Friday is Back

Black Friday is the traditional start of the Holiday shopping season and one of the most feared days among retail staffers.  But the calendar has changed how consumers are looking at Black Friday.  In a recent post, we chronicled information on shopping activity on Thanksgiving. Today, we’ll explore data on Black Friday in particular and what the possible impact could be on your business.

BlackFridayShopping• 55% of consumers expected to shop on Black Friday

• Over the past 2 years, anticipated Black Friday shopping activity has increased by 25%

• Among those who expect to shop on Black Friday ,one-third expect to be at stores by 5am.  Nearly two thirds anticipated to be shopping by 10am

• Nearly 40% of Black Friday shoppers expect to visit 4 or more stores

• By the end of the Thanksgiving / Black Friday weekend, almost three quarters of shoppers expect to have the majority of their holiday purchases completed

• Over 30% of Black Friday shoppers say special sales are the reason they will be shopping.  Since last year, the lure of the deal has increased 23%.

What Does This Mean To You?

It’s no mystery that deals are the main driver of Black Friday shopping. Retail has trained these shoppers to line up, camp out and seek out the best door buster sales they can find.  What is different this year is that instead of Black Friday being the starting point for many consumer’s holiday shopping – for many it may the end of their Christmas list.
The reason why is simple – the calendar.
This year there are only 25 days between Black Friday and Christmas, last year there was 31.
That’s a near 20% slide in available shopping days.
Also, Hanukkah starts the day before Thanksgiving, 11 days earlier than last year.
Shoppers are already crazed during this time of year; many of them are looking for ways to save not just money but time as well.  Creating shopping opportunities earlier may help them save time and money and definitely keep you off the consumer’s naughty list.  Getting your holiday strategy in shape now is paramount to success.  Loyalty programs can be key in getting the word out about your holiday offerings.  Mobile initiatives can help you direct shoppers in-store and deliver offers via text & email.  Mobile can also help you direct shoppers to content you want them to see with QR codes.  For more information on how to generate more sales over Black Friday, Please contact:
Al Fiala

Source: Accenture Research

Kicking Off Holiday Shopping

Last week, we put out our first holiday shopping post. We got more than just a few comments about how it’s too early to think about the winter holidays – they were more concerned with more immediate needs.  The flaw behind that is 2 fold.  First, when an event is responsible for up to 40% of retail business it should always be a concern.  Second, holiday shopping has already started for many consumers – so there are sales you could have already lost out on.  A new study has just come out that examines this year’s holiday shopping estimates.  The results should be factored into your Holiday strategy.

6a00d83451cc8269e20162fcb2d048970d-250wi• Nearly a quarter of holiday shoppers have already started making holiday purchases

• Before Thanksgiving, nearly half of shoppers plan to get most of their holiday shopping done

• Compared to last year, nearly 10% more consumers expect to get most of their shopping done by Thanksgiving

• Another quarter of shoppers plan to get their shopping done over the Thanksgiving weekend

• In total, 75% of shoppers plan to have the bulk of their Holiday shopping completed when most retail businesses are fully focused on the Holidays (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday)

• Just 26% of consumers expect to wait until December to get started on Holiday shopping.  That’s over 15% less than last year.

What Does This Mean To You?

With so many consumers already shopping, you should have your Holiday strategy solidified very soon. Look for ways to lure shoppers who maybe starting to think about the Holidays without jolting others with how close they actually are.  Explore initiatives to make Holidays fun, and get them thinking about things that are often left to till last minute because they slip through the cracks.  Holiday shopping is often done as a group activity – think about ways to leverage that.  Also look for other businesses to partner with.
Holiday photos and custom holiday cards are things that are often forgotten about and when they come up – it is often too late to have them for the holidays.
Big ticket items like appliances may not be great gifts for some people, but there could be an appeal in cooking Thanksgiving dinner is a new kitchen or having holiday guests stay in a newly remodeled home.  Another group to target are consumers whose time is at a premium, Executives and moms in particular.  Have you considered creating in-store events that draw in these lucrative segments.  For more information on getting holiday shoppers in early, please contact:
Al Fiala

Source: Accenture Research

Reasons Consumers Shop In-Store Rather Than “Showroom”

In yesterday’s post, we showed information on motivation behind consumers to “showroom” rather than buy in-store.  Today, we’re going to take the opposite approach and look into why shoppers buy in-store instead of online.

3784566-shopping-smile-couple-isolated-over-white-background• The number one reason why consumers bought into store was expediency – 59% said that they need the item right away

• The long wait for online shipping was the reason 53% on in-store buyers gave

• 51% said it was just more convenient to shop in-store

• Nearly 20% said that they prefer to buy from local businesses and 17% indicated that they get better service buying in-store25% said that they prefer to get the item at home

• 15% said that return policies were better at brick and mortars, 14% said they trusted a local seller more.  Another 14% said that reward points led them to shop in-store

• Less than 10% of consumers mentioned that a personal connection with the staff, the availability of same-day shipping the general dislike f shopping online were the drivers behind they purchasing from a brick and mortar.

What Does This Mean To You?

There are several things you can to leverage the advantages you have in convincing consumers to shop at a brick & mortar.  The need to have it things right away is strong, look into ways of having customer be able to order things ahead of time and then have it ready for them to pickup – this virtually eliminates waiting for shipping.  Promote your community involvement.  Nearly 90% of shoppers say they would switch stores or brands that are involved in charitable activity.  Show your support for local groups and organizations to help lure these customers in-store and complete the sales there.  Your staff maybe another huge weapon in combatting “showrooming” The more you reward customer service, the more likely it is to become the norm.  Look into webinars and virtual classes that help you staff an manager encourage and exude exemplary customer service.  For more information on how to keep more sales in-store vs. online, please contact:
Al Fiala

Source: Columbia Business School

Why Consumers Showroom

“Showrooming” has been a major fear for many retailers.  The main reasons why consumers turn to mobile assistance are convenience and speed.  These two things can help build your brand through mobile but it also gives your competitors the ability to pilfer your most prized possession – your customers.  New research is out that examines why consumers showroom.  This can help you develop strategies to combat “showrooming” and create a strategy that helps you leverage mobile.

shutterstock_98997599• Lower prices are the number one reason consumers “showroom” – nearly 70% said it was their top motivator

• Nearly half said free shipping

• Almost 30% said that they had always planned on buying the item online – never considered buying it in-store

• 25% said that they prefer to get the item at home

• 21% said they bought online because the store was out of stock

• 18% said they bought online because of rewards or discounts through loyalty programs

• 17% said it was inconvenient to go to the store and 16% said lack of taxes pushed to buy online

• Less than 10% of consumers gave reasons such as better customer service and return policies online, they had negative in-store experiences in the past and they trusted the online retailer more than the brick & mortar

What Does This Mean To You?

The biggest thing to jump out is that three-quarters of shoppers are open to or are fully expecting to buy in-store.  Only 27% had no intention of making the purchase in-store.
Your loyalty program can help you overcome many of other hurdles that drive shoppers to buy via mobile device or online when they get home.  Free shipping has become one of the main things that sway shoppers to one store or another.  If you can’t offer free shipping on everything, you may wish to offer free shipping with a certain spending level or over discounted expedited shipping.  A consumers customer service experience may have a great deal to do with whether they complete the sale online or in-store.  Promote why your customer service is better.  Be sure to also go over your return policy and what makes it better.  The more that you can do, the better chance you have to keep a large portion of that near 70% that intend to shop in-store.  In fact, good customer service may help you convert some of that 27% that always planned to shop online.  Tomorrow we’ll go over information on why consumers prefer to buy in-store. For more on gaining mobile success,, please contact
Al Fiala

Source: Columbia Business School

What Mobile Shoppers Do In-Store

In yesterday’s post, we looked at how many people are using mobile devices in-store and their attitudes regarding shopping virtually vs. shopping at a brick & mortar.  Today, we’ll examine the activities that mobile shoppers engage in while in-store.

shutterstock_107315540• 52% use their device to check prices

• Half look for product information and reviews, 39% call or text friends and family members

• 36% have used a bar code or QR scanner app

• 34% have looked for a mobile coupon

• Nearly one in four posted a social update and 22% have checked in to a geo-location social presence

• One in 8 have logged into a stores loyalty program and 10% have paid at checkout using a mobile app

What Does This Mean To You?

Because mobile devices are so prevalent, you need to be nimble with your mobile strategy and leverage the benefits you can offer.
Price matching is essential to keeping consumers in your store vs. a competitor or losing them to an e-retailer.  Making price matching a benefit of a loyalty program might be too exclusionary – but what if you gave consumers a coupon to use in the future plus price matching.  This could lead to additional sales for the future.  With so many consumers looking up reviews and using QR codes, it would be a good idea to combine the two.  By posting QR codes linked to positive product reviews, you are making it easy for consumers to get information and keeping them in your universe.  In-store signage reminding them that they can sign up for mobile coupons is another worthwhile endeavor.  Whatever your do, remember your loyalty program is key to mobile success.  For more information on leveraging the power of mobile, please contact
Al Fiala

Source: Columbia Business School