Monthly Archives: November 2014

What are The Biggest Holiday Shopping Inhibitors?

Last week, we posted information on factors that can increase in-store sales. Today we are going to look at new information on the dynamics that can cause consumers to avoid making purchases in-store.

christmas shopping cart● Long lines were the top answer, 40% of consumers cited line length as a reason not to shop in-store
● Roughly one in four consumers said that too much traffic on the roads, lack of preferred merchandise and slow checkout were other factors that cause to consumer not to shop in-store
● One in five shoppers said that distance to stores were causes to avoid in-store shopping
● 16% said that lack of parking and out of stock items were factors that inhibit making purchases in-store
● 13% cited gas prices as a motive not buy things in-store
● Other things that moved people to avoid going to the stores to shop for the holidays were inconvenient store hours limited store associates and the lack of knowledge among store associates

What This Means To You

The majority of reasons why consumers don’t want to make their holiday purchases in-store is inconvenience. Digital platforms give shoppers the ability to research, compare and purchase on their timetable, not the stores. There are things you can do to mitigate these roadblocks and overcome the three basic buckets of inconvenience
Checkout: No one enjoys standing in line, that’s why checkout objections ranked so high. It can be frustrating to go through the time to brave the crowds, find the items you need and then wait around to pay for items. Mobile technology can help you overcome this objection. Mobile payment and mobile checkout are two. Many companies are just beginning to enter the mobile payment pool. Early results show that mobile payment does create a quicker, easier checkout procedure when the store associate is properly trained on procedures and can assist customers newer to mobile payment use. Before rolling out mobile payment, it is important to make sure your entire store employees are up-to-speed and comfortable with mobile payments. Mobile checkout is something else companies are trying when customers are buying larger items that may not need to be bagged. Many point of sale systems are fully capable of integrating with a tablet and credit card reader to for another checkout station that can be deployed throughout your store. Another idea to investigate is online order and payment with in-store pickup and implementation of express lanes.
Logistics: Traffic can be very bad with holiday travel and parking lots can be a mess. Getting consumers to travel to your store might require additional offers if you are in a distant location.
Free shipping has emerged as the offer most likely to entice customer traffic. Besides offers, customer service can be your biggest weapon. Also, offering gas cards for purchases about a predetermined amount can overcome some objections about cost of getting to your store.
Some larger powercenters and malls are employing trolley services to alleviate parking lot headaches. As an official sponsor, you could get the opportunity to have one of the drop off points be adjacent to your location or have the ability to coupon the riders.
Inventory: One of the reasons consumers don’t want to shop in-store for the holidays is out of stock items and not carrying items that consumers want. Your mobile and digital presences can help with this. By having the ability to check stock on any platform can encourage shoppers to visit your location. Some organizations are using “holiday wish list” functions to help consumers not only make sure items are in–stock but help locate where the items are in-store.
Beacon technology can direct customers who have your app on their smart phone to particular areas of your store. Your loyalty program can assist in reinforcing your message and remind them your have the merchandise they tend to purchase.
If your want to become a shopper favorite destination, look for opportunities to save consumers the one thing they can’t buy – time. For more information on how to increase your visibility and gain shopper traffic, please contact:

Sources: Deloitte


Malls Still A Go-To Destination For Holiday Shoppers

Digital consumerism has forever changed the retail landscape. It has increased the shopper’s selection of stores, goods and services. It has given consumers the ability to make purchase anytime and anyways, it has also opened up new revenue streams for businesses and has given even the smallest of businesses to become 24/7/365 operations. But, when it comes to holiday shopping, malls are a place consumers are drawn to.

mall shopping● 83% of Holiday shoppers in 2014 will make a purchase at a mall. This includes nearly 90% of Millenials – the group most apt to shop online
● Nearly 80% of shoppers said that mall shopping helps them find the right gift. When shopping for multiple people that number jumps to 85%
● 81% of Millenials said they shop at malls to avoid the risk of gifts arriving late – Millenials had the highest propensity for last minute shopping (20%)
● Millenials and Gen Xers are also the most likely to “showroom”. 76% of millennials and 72% of Gen Xers said that they purchased a gift online after visiting a store in the mall
● Last year, the average sales per square foot in a mall were $468. That’s an increase of 24% from 2009

What This Means To You

Holiday shopping isn’t an either / or activity. The vast majority of consumers are cross-platform purchasers. They use mobile devices, desktops and actually visit physical stores as well. Some will probably hold up lines to write a check as well (look for the line I’m in, the check writer will most likely be the person if front of me…or they will be the person taking time to find correct change…that’s the kind of luck I have) If you are in a mall, look for ways to stand out from the competition. Create partnerships with other mall merchants. Embracing mobile technology can be a huge help to draw in customers. Mobile coupons can be a way to increase traffic. Also, look at beacon technology to help direct customers to your store and route them to specific items once they are in your location. One key thing to never forget is loyalty programs.  Enrolling customers into these programs give you a direct path to the consumers and can help turn a one-time sale into a frequent patron. For more information on how to continue your success into the new year, please contact:

Sources: eMarketer. Simon

To Shop or Not On Thanksgiving, That is the Question

Last week, we posted information on how much mobile shopping will take place for the couch on Thanksgiving Day. Every year, more retailers are moving from just being a virtual destination on Thanksgiving Day to being a physical one. New research has become available that shows consumers are split on hitting brick and mortar stores on Thanksgiving Day.

tgiving● Half of all consumers surveyed are against shopping in-store on Thanksgiving Day
● 33% think it’s OK to hit stores on Thanksgiving and 17% were undecided
● In 2012, research showed that only 10%-15% were open to physically shop on Thanksgiving
● Older consumers are the most opposed to shopping on Thanksgiving. Just 16% think it’s appropriate to go brick and mortar shopping on Thanksgiving.
● Younger Millenials are Thanksgiving day shopping’s biggest proponent. Half of adults age 18-24 would shop on Thanksgiving Day. 48% of adults 25-34 agree with them
● Men are more open to shopping on Thanksgiving than Women. 37% of men like the idea of shopping on Thanksgiving Day while only 29% of women do.

What This Means To You

The idea of opening on Thanksgiving Day is a decision that only a business owner can make. While there is a growing market for in-store shopping on Thanksgiving, there are some mitigating factors . There can be some consumer backlash and staffing could be an issue.
Some businesses that have made the choice to open on Thanksgiving have decided to give a portion of profits to charity. You may need to provide a bonus or additional compensation to get people to work on Thanksgiving. If you decide to open on Thanksgiving, you may want to come up with a strategy for equitable distribution of holiday time-off.
For more information on how to create more traffic this holiday season,
please contact:

Sources: LoyaltyOne

How To Increase the Likelihood of In-Store Sales During the Holidays

Recently, we’ve posted several pieces on holiday shopping and how you can leverage consumer behaviors. We’ve looked at when people will be shopping, to where they will be shopping, to how much influence technology will have. In today’s post, we’re going to look a recent study that points out features that increase the probability of consumers making an in-store purchases.

woman-holiday-dress-holding-money● Knowledgeable sales associates increase in-store purchase potential by 48%
● Self-Service or mobile checkout can create a 24% in sales probability
● Barcode scanners to confirm price and will increase potential sales by 23%
● Personalized mobile coupons create a 21% increase in purchase potential
● Personalized coupons available through social media can create a 17% lift

What This Means To You

While some people love going to the stores during the holidays, others not so much. In fact, a recent study showed that a large percentage of people consider going to the mall during the holidays their worst nightmare. Even shoppers who can’t wait to hit the stores during the holidays will probably like some added convenience. All of the things that have been shown to increase potential sales are things that make shopping more convenient. On average shoppers hit 4.6 different venues during holiday shopping trips. When you save these customers time and stress, you become a preferred shopping destination.
Your biggest asset to increase potential sales is your employees. Helpful associates make it easier for customers to find the items they need. Rewarding associates for helpful behavior will pay dividends well past the holidays. While self-service checkout and barcode stations could call for capital expenses, a mobile and social coupons campaign can be efficiently deployed.
The key to a successful campaign is the personalization. A truly personalized campaign goes beyond just using their name. It leverages past buying behavior to create relevant offers.
Don’t look at the holidays as the end of the year, view them as a pathway to create long term shoppers. For more information on how to you can create more sales today and loyal customers tomorrow, please contact:

Sources: Deloitte

Small Businesses and Holiday Shopping

While a good deal of winter holiday shopping activities are centered around malls and big box retailers, small business have an opportunity to cultivate new consumers and create long-term customers. Even though small businesses may not have the name recognition of regional or national competitors, more and more consumers are looking to help businesses in their community.

blackfridaybags 304● 70% of consumers plan to shop at a local business during the holidays
● Over 60% of these shoppers will visit a small business because they want to support
a local business and 55%
are looking to find one of a kind gifts
● Over 40% will shop at a local business because of continence and 38% will do so because of excellent customer service
● Other reasons shoppers will patronize a small business is loyalty to local companies, special deals, free services and a relationship with business owners

What This Means To You

As a small business, you have several advantages over larger competitors. The biggest being the customer service you can offer. Going the extra mile can help you create loyal patrons.  The relationships you have can help you create these new opportunities.
How are you using positive reviews and posts?
Don’t just think of these as pleasantries from customers, they are virtual testimonials. Consumers put a great deal of value in social media postings and online reviews.
You should promote, repost and retweet these messages. You should also republish these to your own web presences. Letting others tell your story will give it more weight. But remember, that your competitors won’t be singing your praises, it’s your job to cultivate them.  Don’t forget to reward these customers who provide testimonials; it will spur others to do so and help spread your message to more potential customers. For more information on how to create more customers please contact:

Sources: Deloitte

How Much Influence Will Technology Have on Holiday Shopping?

We are going to continue or look at this year’s holiday season.
Today, we’ll take a deeper dive into how big an influence technology
will have on shopping. Four Holiday seasons ago, mobile started changing
the way consumers discover, research, locate and purchase goods and services. Beacons and mobile point of sale payment are continuing the evolution of digital commerce. New research shows us how much consumers will be using technology this Winter holiday season.

images34● 67% holiday shoppers own smart phones and 50% own tablets. 72% of smart phone owners and 69% of tablet owners will use their devices during the holiday shopping process
● 75% of shoppers will use social media sites in the holiday shopping process
● 28% will consult online reviews, 20% will contribute to review sites and 11% will share holiday shopping experiences through social media
● 23% will use a smart phone to find local businesses and obtain directions to stores

What This Means To You
Technology and digital devices are a big part of consumer’s lives. Your customers and most likely shoppers are using smart phones and tablets to find places to find the goods and services they need and let others know about their experiences.  Long past are the days when companies needed to be mobile friendly or mobile optimized.  Today, you should be working towards being mobile first. Why? More and more consumers are becoming mobile only. These potential customers only use smart phones and tablets – not desktops. If you are not providing these customers with the mobile experiences they want, they will likely turn to your competitors.
Many of the tasks consumers once used their desktops/laptops for, they now rely on mobile devices for. Social media, email and web surfing are just three of them. Each of these offer you ways of recruiting new customers and reinforcing loyalty among existing ones. But, if you are not fully engaged with mobile technologies, you are likely losing opportunities and sales. For more information on how to create better customer relationships and increase store traffic through mobile, please contact:

Sources: Deloitte

How Merry Will This Holiday Season Be?

Our last post looked into how mobile is set to affect Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales. Today we are going to look into just how big the 2014 Holiday season may be. New research shows that cash registers might be ringing just as loud as those sleigh bells.

holiday-shopping-cart● Overall, total Holiday sales are predicted top to increase by 4% to 4.5%. In 2013, early estimated pointed to a 3% increase in sales
● Nearly 70% of consumers plan on spending roughly the same as they spent last year.
● 15% plan to increase spending over last year. This is a slight increase over last year.
● 16% plan on spending less than they did in 2013.
● Just 42% of holiday shoppers plan to adhere to a spending budget

What This Means To You

With the vast majority of shoppers planning to spend about the same as last year, it’s important to take your shopper share off the top as early in the season as possible.
Currently, consumer confidence is very high and the weather has not turned bad in the extreme snow belt. Because events happen very quickly and weather is likely not to stay nice through the Winter Holidays, it’s important to take advantage of the situation while you can.
It’s also important to set yourself apart from the competition.
What are some easy ways to increase your chance of drawing in early holiday?
Leverage your loyalty programs – Send out holiday offers, but make sure they are relevant.  Relevant offers become shopping tools, non-relevant offers are usually ignored.   If you’ve got the data on what your customers purchase, you need to use it.
Create special in-store events – Contact your vendors and partners to see if they can help.  They may even be able to help pay for the event or the marketing of it through co-op programs.
Look to see what your competitors are doing – Odds are they are planning to do something as well. The last thing you want is to give them a competitive advantage by create second rate offers or events.
Contesting – There are many reasons why consumers choose one business over another. Price, offers and convenience are some of the biggest. But if you can offer you customers a chance to win something, it could break a tie between you and a competitor.
The holidays are a make or break time for many businesses. Look for every opportunity to create a winning situation. For more information on creating traffic during the holidays and converting those shoppers into long term customers, please contact:
Sources: Deloitte