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
amfiala@gmail.com

Source: Accenture Research

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